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Profile: Mandy Simons (Carnegie Mellon University)
  1. Mandy Simons, Presupposition Without Common Ground.
    In this paper, I review a number of arguments in favor of treating many of the central cases of presupposition as the result of conversational inference, rather than as lexically specified properties of particular expressions. I then argue that, despite the standard assumption to the contrary, the view of presupposition as constraints on the common ground is not consistent with the provision of a conversational account of particular presuppositional constraints. The argument revolves crucially around the workings of accommodation. I then (...)
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  2. Craige Roberts, Mandy Simons & Judith Tonhauser, Presupposition, Conventional Implicature, and Beyond: A Unified Account of Projection.
    We define a notion of projective meaning which encompasses both classical presuppositions and phenomena which are usually regarded as non-presuppositional but which also display projection behavior—Horn’s assertorically inert entailments, conventional implicatures (both Grice’s and Potts’) and some conversational implicatures. We argue that the central feature of all projective meanings is that they are not-at-issue, defined as a relation to the question under discussion. Other properties differentiate various sub-classes of projective meanings, one of them the class of presuppositions according to Stalnaker. (...)
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  3. Mandy Simons, August 2007.
    There seems little doubt that there are interesting and theoretically relevant distinctions to be made between different types of presuppositions within this heterogeneous set. But the study of these distinctions is of interest primarily in light of the intuition that the members of this set share some common feature: that there is some singular phenomenon of presupposition to be described and explained. This paper is concerned with what presuppositions have in common, and offers an alternative to the current standard view.
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  4. Mandy Simons, A Note on Projection and Local Implication.
    The phenomenon we now know as projection was first observed by Frege in his brief remarks about presupposition in “Sense and Reference.” Frege observes there that the assertion that Kepler died in misery gives rise to the implication that the name Kepler has a referent; but that so too does the assertion that Kepler did not die in misery. Here we have the source of the observation that if p is a presupposition of S, then p is implied by (utterances (...)
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  5. Mandy Simons, Observations on Embedding Verbs, Evidentiality, and Presupposition.
    This paper discusses the semantically parenthetical use of clauseembedding verbs such as see, hear, think, believe, discover and know. When embedding verbs are used in this way, the embedded clause carries the main point of the utterance, while the main clause serves some discourse function. Frequently, this function is evidential, with the parenthetical verb carrying information about the source and reliability of the embedded claim, or about the speaker’s emotional orientation to it. Other functions of parenthetical uses of verbs are (...)
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  6. Mandy Simons, On the Conversational Basis of Some Presuppositions.
    The current literature on presupposition focuses almost exclusively on the projection problem: the question of how and why the presuppositions of atomic clauses are projected to complex sentences which embed them. Very little attention has been paid to the question of how and why these presuppositions arise at all. As Kay (1992, p.335) observes, “treatments of the presupposition inheritance problem almost never deal with the reasons that individual words and constructions give rise, in the first place, to the particular presuppositions (...)
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  7. Mandy Simons, Presupposing.
    The basic linguistic phenomenon of presupposition is commonplace and intuitive, little different from the relation described by the word presuppose in its everyday usage. In ordinary language, when we say that someone presupposes something, we mean that they assume it, or take it for granted. The term is used in the same way when we talk of a speaker presupposing something, although typically we are interested in those assumptions which are revealed by what the speaker says. To begin with the (...)
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  8. Mandy Simons, Semantics and Pragmatics in the Interpretation of Or.
    This paper concerns what might be called the variably bad behavior of the word or. As is well known, there are a variety of environments in which the word or misbehaves – misbehaves, in the sense that it gives rise to interpretations which are not expected given the standard analysis of this word as, roughly, set union. One of these environments is the scope of a modal. This case has received a lot of attention recently in the literature, and a (...)
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  9. Mandy Simons, Usa.
    This article reviews in detail Grice’s conception of conversational implicature, then surveys the major literature on scalar implicature from early work to the present. Embedded implicature is illustrated, and it is explained why this phenomenon poses a challenge to the Gricean view. Some alternate views of conversational implicature are then presented. The article concludes with a brief look at formal appraches to the study of implicature.
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  10. Mandy Simons, David Beaver, Judith Tonhauser & Craige Roberts, What Projects and Why.
    The empirical phenomenon at the center of this paper is projection, which we define (uncontroversially) as follows: (1) Definition of projection An implication projects if and only if it survives as an utterance implication when the expression that triggers the implication occurs under the syntactic scope of an entailment-cancelling operator. Projection is observed, for example, with utterances containing aspectual verbs like stop, as shown in (2) and (3) with examples from English and Paraguayan Guaraní (Paraguay, Tupí-Guaraní).1 The Guaraní example in (...)
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  11. Mandy Simons (2014). Local Pragmatics and Structured Contents. Philosophical Studies 168 (1):21-33.
    There is a long-standing and rarely contested view that Gricean conversational reasoning—the kind of reasoning that supports the identification of conversational implicatures—cannot produce pragmatically generated modification of the contents of embedded clauses. The goal of this paper is to argue against this view: to argue that embedded pragmatic effects can be seen as continuous with ordinary, utterance-level, conversational implicature. I will further suggest, though, that embedded pragmatic effects do force on us a particular conception of semantics. Specifically, I will argue (...)
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  12. Mandy Simons (2010). A Gricean View on Intrusive Implicatures. In Klaus Petrus (ed.), Meaning and Analysis: New Essays on Grice. Palgrave Macmillan.
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  13. Mandy Simons (2006). Foundational Issues in Presupposition. Philosophy Compass 1 (4):357–372.
    Unsurprisingly, the negation of sentence (1), shown in (3), does not share this entailment. Neither does the yes/no question formed from this sentence. Similarly, if we add a possibility modal to the sentence, or construct a conditional of which (1) is the antecedent, the resulting sentences do not share the entailment of the original, as we see from the examples below.
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  14. Mandy Simons (2005). Dividing Things Up: The Semantics of or and the Modal/or Interaction. [REVIEW] Natural Language Semantics 13 (3):271-316.
    In this paper, the meanings of sentences containing the word or and a modal verb are used to arrive at a novel account of the meaning of or coordinations. It is proposed that or coordinations denote sets whose members are the denotations of the disjuncts; and that the truth conditions of sentences containing or coordinations require the existence of some set made available by the semantic environment which can be ‘divided up’ in accordance with the disjuncts. The relevant notion of (...)
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  15. Mandy Simons (2005). Presuppositions and Relevance. In Zoltán Gendler Szabó (ed.), Semantics Versus Pragmatics. Oxford University Press. 329--255.
    Recall Grice’s well-worn example from Logic and Conversation about Smith, his girlfriend, and his trips to New York: (1) A: Smith doesn’t seem to have a girlfriend these days. B: He has been paying a lot of visits to NY recently. Grice says that in this dialogue, B implicates that Smith has, or may have, a girlfriend in New York. But in saying this, Grice under-describes his own example. For this proposition alone does not suffice to satisfy the requirements of (...)
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  16. Mandy Simons (2003). Presupposition and Accommodation: Understanding the Stalnakerian Picture. [REVIEW] Philosophical Studies 112 (3):251 - 278.
    This paper offers a critical analysis ofStalnaker''s work on presupposition (Stalnaker1973, 1974, 1979, 1999, 2002). The paperexamines two definitions of speakerpresupposition offered by Stalnaker – the familiar common ground view, and the earlier,less familiar, dispositional account – and howStalnaker relates this notion to the linguisticphenomenon of presupposition. Special attentionis paid to Stalnaker''s view of accommodation. Iargue that given Stalnakers views,accommodation is not rightly seen as driven bythe presuppositional requirements ofutterances, but only by the interests ofspeakers in eliminating perceived differencesamong presuppositions. (...)
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  17. Michael Kohlhase & Mandy Simons, Interpreting Negatives in Discourse.
    Michael Kohlhase and Mandy Simons. Interpreting Negatives in Discourse.
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  18. Mandy Simons (2001). Disjunction and Alternativeness. Linguistics and Philosophy 24 (5):597-619.
  19. Mandy Simons, On The Felicity Conditions of Disjunctive Sentences.
    Mandy Simons. On The Felicity Conditions of Disjunctive Sentences.
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  20. Mandy Simons (1996). Pronouns and Definite Descriptions: A Critique of Wilson. Journal of Philosophy 93 (8):408-420.
  21. Mandy Simons, Presupposition and Cooperation.
    Since linguists began extensive work on presupposition in the 1970's, a long and heterogeneous list has been compiled of expressions, expression types and constructions that give rise to presuppositions. In the current literature, the principal (but by no means sole) diagnostic for presupposition typically appealed to is the tendency of the particular element of meaning to project, i.e. to escape the scope of operators such as negation, the question operator, or modals. An important intuition also routinely appealed to is that (...)
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