Presupposition Projection as Anaphora Resolution

Journal of Semantics 9 (4):333-377 (1992)
Abstract
The present paper presents an anaphoric account of presupposition. It is argued that presuppositional expressions should not be seen as referring expressions, nor is presupposition to be explicated in terms of some non-standard logic. The notion of presupposition should not be relegated to a pragmatic theory either. Instead presuppositional expressions are claimed to be anaphoric expressions which have internal structure and semantic content. In fact they only differ from pronouns and other semantically less loaded anaphors in that they have more descriptive content. It is this fact which enables them to create an antecedent in case discourse does not provide one. If their capacity to accommodate is taken into account they can be treated by basically the same mechanism which handles the resolution of pronouns. The theory is elaborated in the framework of discourse representation theory. It is shown that pragmatic factors interfere in the resolution of presuppositional anaphors. The resulting account can neither be classified as wholly semantic nor wholly pragmatic. Section 1 presents a survey of standing problems in the theory of presupposition projection and discusses the major competing approaches. An argumentation for a purely anaphoric account of presupposition is given in section 2. Section 3 presents a coding of presuppositional expressions in an extension of discourse representation theory. The final section is devoted to a discussion of the constraints which govern the resolution of presuppositional anaphors
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