Buoyancy and strength

Journal of Semantics 17 (4):315-333 (2000)
The chief characteristic of presuppositions is that they tend to take wide scope, yet most theories of presupposition, the author's not excepted, fail to provide an explanation of this fact. Recently, however, it has been suggested that a principal explanation can be given in terms of informativeness: the idea is that presuppositions simply prefer stronger readings to weaker ones. This proposal is studied in some depth, and is shown to lack solid empirical evidence. Furthermore, it is argued that assuming a preference for strong readings is either ad hoc, when restricted to presuppositions, or just false, when held to apply more widely. The paper leaves the main problem very much where it is, though some suggestions are made as to how the situation might be improved
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DOI 10.1093/jos/17.4.315
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