I speculated that this position would commit me to rejecting all sorts of causal theories. But I now realise the problem is not quite so sweeping. Instead, I need to distinguish between placing importance on causal histories and causal powers, and reject only the former.
The difference is highlighted nicely by Fodor in Psychosemantics (p.45):
God could make a genuine electron, or diamond, or tiger, or person, because being an electron or a diamond or a tiger or a person isn't a matter of being the effect of the right kind of causes; rather, it's a matter of being the cause of the right kind of effects. And similarly, I think, for all the other natural kinds. Causal powers are decisively relevant to a taxonomy of natural kinds because such taxonomies are organized in behalf of causal explanation. Not all taxonomies have that end in view, however, so not all taxonomies classify by causal powers. Even God couldn't make a gen-u-ine United States ten cent piece; only the U.S. Treasury Department can do that.
But is that last sentence true? If the world were created 5 minutes ago, would that mean that there are no genuine ten cent pieces? I'm not convinced. But perhaps such a radical change of context would alter what we mean by those words.* So perhaps the key question is whether in our present context God could create a genuine U.S. ten-cent piece, and there I'm more inclined to agree with Fodor after all. Being made by the U.S. Treasury Dept is (an essential) part of what we mean by 'genuine U.S. ten-cent piece'. So it looks like causal histories can be relevant after all. (Just not in the cases I discussed in my previous post, I think.)
* = Come to think of it, this statement itself seems to imply some sort of causal [history] theory of meaning. For if meaning depends on external context, which in turn depends upon causal histories (as it must if there has been any 'radical change' in the present case), then clearly meaning must at least partially depend upon causal histories.
Huh, maybe the past does matter after all. I wasn't expecting to conclude that when I started writing this post. Oh well.