Different scholars including philosophers have developed theories to help understand ways people communicate and assign meaning to what they say and hear. One of such theories is Referential Theory. The paper will discuss the theory by outlining its assumptions, strengths, and weaknesses.
Referential theory of meaning has its roots from the work of Aristotle, and he was the first person to expound on it in the 4th century BC (Hobbs, 2012). He had an assumption regarding words that people spoke and believed they had a meaning attached to them. According to his view, the meaning of a word consists in what it refers to (Hobbs, 2012). He gave several examples to prove his argument and as a justification that meanings are denoted by the words referred. For instance, the word "dog" is used to refer to all the dogs in the world and dogs are mammals that human beings rear at homes. Therefore, it is in order for one to hold that dog refers to all the animals who share the same similarities in the world. Similarly, knowing what dog refers to makes it easy for people to know the meaning of the word.
Besides, Aristotle argued by giving other additional examples towards justifying his statements. For instance, the meaning of a tree is the same one known, the meaning of a joke is the same joke we practice every day same to automobiles used in everyday life (Hobbs, 2012). Because of this, proponents of the theory believe that meaning of a term consists in its reference class. This implies that it falls into the category that the words refer.
The referential theory is cherished because of the identity it gives objects it refers to. The theory holds because of its ability to point to references class that is used in explaining the meaning of words used (UNC, 2015).