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Summary

Presupposition has been a widely discussed topic in the philosophical and linguistic tradition since the beginning: Frege, in Über Sinn und Bedeutung (1892), claims that the use of a singular term presupposes the existence of the individual denoted. The Fregean example was that to give a truth value to the sentence

(1) Kepler died in misery

we need to take for granted the truth of the proposition

(1a) Kepler existed

Therefore, (1a) is a semantic presupposition of (1). Since the Fregean stance, analytic scholars have given the following definition: a sentence p semantically presupposes a sentence q if we need the truth of q in order to treat p as endowed with sense, that is, as either true or false. If the presupposition is lacking, then the sentence p lacks a truth value (i.e. is neither true nor false). Russell, in On Denoting (1905), launched a strong criticism of the Fregean theory of semantic presupposition, contrasting the Fregean view with a new “theory of definite descriptions”. From this perspective, every sentence is either truth or false, and the role of a proper name (or a description to which every proper name can be reduced, according to Russell) is to express an existence claim. This solution allows to give a truth value to sentences with non-denoting terms, like “The present king of France is bald”, which should be translated as “There is an individual who is at present King of France and he is unique and he is bald”; formally:

(2) ∃x[F(x)˄∀y[F(y)→y=x]˄C(x)]

In this case, given that there is no individual who is presently the King of France, the sentence is false.

It was only in the 50s that ordinary language philosophy developed a new concept of presupposition. Starting with Strawson (1950) and with Austin (1962), the concept of presupposition was no longer linked to necessary conditions for the evaluation of the truth of a sentence, but was a necessary condition for the felicity or appropriateness of a speech act. With Stalnaker (1973) analytic philosophy abandoned the notion of semantic presupposition to treat presupposition as a propositional attitude. The theory changed its focus from the semantic level of sentences to the pragmatic level of utterances, therefore including the ‘cognitive context’ of the speakers background of beliefs, assumptions, presumptions, etc. In Stalnaker’s view the common ground of a conversation at a particular time is the set of propositions that participants in that conversation at that time mutually believe to be accepted as true and that, for that reason, they take for granted. Hence, in this perspective, a pragmatic presupposition is a prerequisite for appropriateness of assertions: an assertion of a sentence p is appropriate only if the common ground includes the presupposition q required by p, namely, q is believed as accepted as true by the interlocutors (Stalnaker, 2002).

In more recent times, several scholars have treated the problem of presuppositions within dynamic semantic theories, i.e. formal representations of language structure aimed at modelling the growth of information in the course of a discourse, like Update Semantics (Heim 1992) and Discourse Representation Theory (Kamp & Reyle, 1993). The passage from the level of singular utterances to the wider level of the discourse structure has shown us that the distinction between semantic and pragmatic presuppositions, that once seemed like a neat division, is not so tidy after all. On the one hand, presuppositions are considered an essential prerequisite for understanding the content expressed by an utterance and for the coherence of the semantic relations between the sentences that constitute a discourse. In this respect, therefore, they play a purely semantic role. On the other hand, the process of presupposition accommodation is highly sensitive to contextual factors like, for example, speakers’ willingness to maintain a cooperative attitude with their interlocutors. In this view, therefore, they can be considered a pragmatic phenomenon, related to contextual aspects.

When dealing with presuppositions, many theoretical problems and contrasts have to be tackled. Specifically, there are three main open questions in the current linguistic and philosophical debate:

(i) a first problem concerns what ‘presupposing’ means, i.e. what it is for a proposition to be taken for granted. The question at stake is to determine what are the mental states speakers have towards presuppositions; in particular, when new information is conveyed as presupposed and is accommodated within the common ground by the interlocutors (Stalnaker 2002, Gauker 2003).

(ii) A second major issue regards the role of presupposition triggers (i.e. all the lexical items and syntactic constructions that activate presuppositions). Besides a traditional taxonomy of presupposition triggers, there are now new attempts to better explain the mechanisms underlying the understanding of different categories of triggers and to provide a new classification (Abusch 2002, 2010).

(iii) Finally, a third central topic is the so called ‘presupposition projection problem’, namely, the problem of how complex sentences inherit the presuppositions of their components depending on the logical operator in use (Heim 1992, Geurts 1999). 

Key works Common ground; presupposition triggers; presupposition projection; accommodation; global context; local context; presupposition failure.
Introductions

Stalnaker R (1973) Presuppositions. The Journal of Philosophical Logic 2:447-457

Stalnaker R (2002) Common Ground. Linguistics and Philosophy 25(5-6):701-721

Heim I (1992) Presupposition projection and the semantics of attitude verbs. Journal of Semantics 9(3):183-221

Abusch, D., (2010). “Presupposition triggering from alternatives”, Journal of Semantics,

27(1), 1-44.

Geurts, B., (1999). Presuppostions and Pronouns, Elsevier, Amsterdam.

Related categories
Siblings:History/traditions: Presupposition

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  1. Comments on Philippe Schlenker's Be Articulate! A Pragmatic Theory of Presupposition Projection.Berit Brogaard - manuscript
    “When a speaker says something of the form A and B, he may take it for granted that A (or at least that his audience recognizes that he accepts that A) after he has said it. The proposition that A will be added to the background of common assumptions before the speaker asserts that B. Now suppose that B expresses a proposition that would, for some reason, be inappropriate to assert except in a context where A, or something entailed by (...)
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  2. Does Pornography Presuppose Rape Myths?Richard Kimberly Heck - manuscript
    Rae Langton and Caroline West have argued that pornography silences women by presupposing misogynistic attitudes, such as that women enjoy being raped. More precisely, they claim that a somewhat infamous pictorial, “Dirty Pool”, makes such presuppositions. I argue for four claims. (i) Langton and West's account of how pornography silences women is empirically dubious. (ii) There is no evidence that very much pornography makes the sorts of presuppositions they require. (iii) Even "Dirty Pool", for all its other problems, does not (...)
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  3. Presupposition.Philippe Schlenker - manuscript
    (2-week course at the New York-St. Petersburg Institute of Cognitive and Cultural Studies, July 2007).
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  4. Presupposition Without Common Ground.Mandy Simons - manuscript
    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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  5. On Presupposition Accommodation.Zoltan Szabo - manuscript
    These are the comments I gave at Ohio State in October 2006 on Kai von Fintel’s paper on presupposition accommodation.
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  6. Modality, Presupposition and Discourse.Patrícia Amaral & Fabio Del Prete - forthcoming - In Ruth Lopes, Juanito Ornelas de Avelar & Sonia Cyrino (eds.), Romance Languages and Linguistic Theory. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.
    This paper provides a semantic analysis of the particles afinal (European Portuguese) and alla fine (Italian) in terms of the notion of truth unpersistence, which can be situated at the intersection of epistemic modality and discourse structure. In the analysis proposed, the particles are propositional operators and require that the truth of a proposition p* fail to persist through a temporal succession of epistemic states, this proposition being incompatible with the prejacent, and that the interlocutors share knowledge of a previous (...)
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  7. Subclausal Local Contexts.Kyle H. Blumberg & Amir Anvari - forthcoming - Journal of Semantics.
    One of the central topics in semantic theory over the last few decades concerns the nature of local contexts. Recently, theorists have tried to develop general, non-stipulative accounts of local contexts (Schlenker, 2009; Ingason, 2016; Mandelkern & Romoli, 2017a). In this paper, we contribute to this literature by drawing attention to the local contexts of subclausal expressions. More specifically, we focus on the local contexts of quantificational determiners, e.g. `all', `both', etc. Our central tool for probing the local contexts of (...)
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  8. On Stalnaker's "Indicative Conditionals".Fabrizio Cariani - forthcoming - In Louise McNally & Zoltan Szabo (eds.), Studies in Linguistics and Philosophy, Vol 100. Springer.
    This paper is a guide to the main ideas and innovations in Robert Stalnaker's "Indicative Conditionals". The paper is for a volume of essays on twenty-one classics of formal semantics edited by Louise McNally and Zoltàn Gendler Szabò.
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  9. Dissatisfaction Theory.Matthew Mandelkern - forthcoming - Semantics and Linguistic Theory 26:391-416.
    I propose a new theory of semantic presupposition, which I call dissatisfaction theory. I first briefly review a cluster of problems − known collectively as the proviso problem − for most extant theories of presupposition, arguing that the main pragmatic response to them faces a serious challenge. I avoid these problems by adopting two changes in perspective on presupposition. First, I propose a theory of projection according to which presuppositions project unless they are locally entailed. Second, I reject the standard (...)
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  10. Parsing and Presupposition in the Calculation of Local Contexts.Matthew Mandelkern & Jacopo Romoli - forthcoming - Semantics and Pragmatics.
    In this paper, we use antecedent-final conditionals to formulate two problems for parsing-based theories of presupposition projection and triviality of the kind given in Schlenker 2009. We show that, when it comes to antecedent-final conditionals, parsing-based theories predict filtering of presuppositions where there is in fact projection, and triviality judgments for sentences which are in fact felicitous. More concretely, these theories predict that presuppositions triggered in the antecedent of antecedent-final conditionals will be filtered (i.e. will not project) if the negation (...)
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  11. Asymmetry in Presupposition Projection: The Case of Conjunction.Matthew Mandelkern, Jeremy Zehr, Jacopo Romoli & Florian Schwarz - forthcoming - Semantics and Linguistic Theory 27.
    Is the basic mechanism behind presupposition projection fundamentally asymmetric or symmetric? This is a basic question for the theory of presupposition, which also bears on broader issues concerning the source of asymmetries observed in natural language: are these simply rooted in superficial asymmetries of language use— language use unfolds in time, which we experience as fundamentally asymmetric— or can they be, at least in part, directly referenced in linguistic knowledge and representations? In this paper we aim to make progress on (...)
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  12. Lies, Common Ground and Performative Utterances.Neri Marsili - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-12.
    In a recent book (Lying and insincerity, Oxford University Press, 2018), Andreas Stokke argues that one lies iff one says something one believes to be false, thereby proposing that it becomes common ground. This paper shows that Stokke’s proposal is unable to draw the right distinctions about insincere performative utterances. The objection also has repercussions on theories of assertion, because it poses a novel challenge to any attempt to define assertion as a proposal to update the common ground.
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  13. Saying, Commitment, and the Lying – Misleading Distinction.Neri Marsili & Guido Löhr - forthcoming - Journal of Philosophy.
  14. Taxonomizing Non-at-Issue Contents.Thorsten Sander - forthcoming - Grazer Philosophische Studien:1-28.
    I argue that there is no such thing as a unique and general taxonomy of non-at-issue contents. Accordingly, we ought to shun large categories such as “conventional implicature” (Grice), “F-implicature” (Horn), “CI” (Potts), “Class B” (Tonhauser, Beaver, Roberts & Simons) or the like. As an alternative, we may, first, describe the “semantic profile” of linguistic devices as accurately as possible. Second, we may explicitly tailor our categories to particular theoretical purposes.
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  15. Ineliminable Underdetermination and Context-Shifting Arguments.Mark Bowker - 2022 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 65 (2):215-236.
    ABSTRACT The truth-conditions of utterances are often underdetermined by the meaning of the sentence uttered, as suggested by the observation that the same sentence has different intuitive truth-values in different contexts. The intuitive difference is usually explained by assigning different truth-conditions to different utterances. This paper poses a problem for explanations of this kind: These truth-conditions, if they exist, are epistemically inaccessible. I suggest instead that truth-conditional underdetermination is ineliminable and these utterances have no truth-conditions. Intuitive truth-values are explained by (...)
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  16. Argumentation Profiles and the Manipulation of Common Ground. The Arguments of Populist Leaders on Twitter.Fabrizio Macagno - 2022 - Journal of Pragmatics 191:67-82.
    The detection of hate speech and fake news in political discourse is at the same time a crucial necessity for democratic societies and a challenge for several areas of study. However, most of the studies have focused on what is explicitly stated: false article information, language that expresses hatred, derogatory expressions. This paper argues that the explicit dimension of manipulation is only one – and the least problematic – of the risks of political discourse. The language of the unsaid is (...)
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  17. Cat‐Calls, Compliments and Coercion.Lucy McDonald - 2022 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 103 (1):208-230.
    In this paper, I offer a novel argument for why cat-calling is wrong. After warding off the objection that cat-calls are compliments and therefore morally benign, I show that it cannot be the semantic content of cat-calls which makes cat-calling wrong, because some cat-calls have seemingly benign content yet seem to wrong their targets (usually women and LGBTQ people) nonetheless. Instead, cat-calling is wrong because it silences targets, by preventing them from blocking cat-callers’ presuppositions of authority, and exploits them, by (...)
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  18. What We Do and Presuppose When We Demonstrate.Eduarda Calado Barbosa & Felipe Nogueira De Carvalho - 2021 - Veritas – Revista de Filosofia da Pucrs 65 (3):e38525.
    In this paper, we defend that demonstratives are expressions of joint attention. Though this idea is not exactly new in the philosophical or linguistic literature, we argue here that their proponents have not yet shown how to incorporate these observations into more traditional theories of demonstratives. Our purpose is then to attempt to fill this gap. We argue that coordinated attentional activities are better integrated into a full account of demonstratives as meta-pragmatic information. Our claim is twofold. First, we claim (...)
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  19. Presuppositional Exhaustification.Itai Bassi, Guillermo Del Pinal & Uli Sauerland - 2021 - Semantics and Pragmatics 14:1-42.
    Grammatical theories of Scalar Implicatures make use of an exhaustivity operator exh, which asserts the conjunction of the prejacent with the negation of excludable alternatives. We present a new Grammatical theory of Scalar Implicatures according to which exh is replaced with pex, an operator that contributes its prejacent as asserted content, but the negation of scalar alternatives at a non-at-issue level of meaning. We show that by treating this non-at-issue level as a presupposition, this theory resolves a number of empirical (...)
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  20. Hate-Speech in Girard's Reading of the Book of Job.Daniele Bertini - 2021 - Dialegesthai. Rivista Telematica di Filosofia 23.
    According to René Girard, all religious traditions - and so every tradition- originate from a communitarian violence towards a randomly chosen individual. I provide an introductory construal of Girard’s proposal in the first section of my paper. In the second section, I will address a conceptual view of the theory by making explicit its principles and their inferential relations. In the third section, I will explain how philosophers of language address slurs and hate-speech. Particularly, I will apply such materials to (...)
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  21. Oddness, Modularity, and Exhaustification.Guillermo Del Pinal - 2021 - Natural Language Semantics 29 (1):115-158.
    According to the `grammatical account', scalar implicatures are triggered by a covert exhaustification operator present in logical form. This account covers considerable empirical ground, but there is a peculiar pattern that resists treatment given its usual implementation. The pattern centers on odd assertions like #"Most lions are mammals" and #"Some Italians come from a beautiful country", which seem to trigger implicatures in contexts where the enriched readings conflict with information in the common ground. Magri (2009, 2011) argues that, to account (...)
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  22. Reconstructing Multimodal Arguments in Advertisements: Combining Pragmatics and Argumentation Theory.Fabrizio Macagno & Rosalice Botelho Wakim Souza Pinto - 2021 - Argumentation 35 (1):141-176.
    The analysis of multimodal argumentation in advertising is a crucial and problematic area of research. While its importance is growing in a time characterized by images and pictorial messages, the methods used for interpreting and reconstructing the structure of arguments expressed through verbal and visual means capture only isolated dimensions of this complex phenomenon. This paper intends to propose and illustrate a methodology for the reconstruction and analysis of “double-mode” arguments in advertisements, combining the instruments developed in social semiotics, pragmatics, (...)
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  23. Pejoratives & Oughts.Teresa Marques - 2021 - Philosophia 49 (3):1109-1125.
    Chris Hom argued that slurs and pejoratives semantically express complex negative prescriptive properties, which are determined in virtue of standing in external causal relations to social ideologies and practices. He called this view Combinatorial Externalism. Additionally, he argued that Combinatorial Externalism entailed that slurs and pejoratives have null extensions. In this paper, I raise an objection that has not been raised in the literature so far. I argue that semantic theories like Hom’s are forced to choose between two alternatives: either (...)
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  24. Assertion.Peter Pagin & Neri Marsili - 2021 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Asserting is the act of claiming that something is the case—for instance, that oranges are citruses, or that there is a traffic congestion on Brooklyn Bridge (at some time). We make assertions to share information, coordinate our actions, defend arguments, and communicate our beliefs and desires. Because of its central role in communication, assertion has been investigated in several disciplines. Linguists, philosophers of language, and logicians rely heavily on the notion of assertion in theorizing about meaning, truth and inference. -/- (...)
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  25. Presupposing, Believing, Having Faith.Carlos Miguel Gómez Rincón - 2021 - Sophia 60 (1):103-121.
    This paper traces the borders between presupposing, believing, and having faith. These three attitudes are often equated and confused in the contemporary image of the historically and culturally situated character of rationality. This confusion is problematic because, on the one hand, it prevents us from fully appreciating the way in which this image of rationality points towards a dissolving of the opposition between faith and reason; on the other hand, it leads to forms of fideism. After bringing this differentiation into (...)
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  26. Fregean Side-Thoughts.Thorsten Sander - 2021 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 99 (3):455-471.
    ABSTRACT This paper offers a detailed reconstruction of Frege’s theory of side-thoughts and its relation to other parts of his pragmatics, most notably to the notion of colouring, to the notion of presupposition, and to his implicit notion of multi-propositionality. I also highlight some important differences between the subsemantic categories employed by Frege and those used in contemporary pragmatics.
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  27. Understanding Frege’s Notion of Presupposition.Thorsten Sander - 2021 - Synthese 199 (5-6):12603-12624.
    Why did Frege offer only proper names as examples of presupposition triggers? Some scholars claim that Frege simply did not care about the full range of presuppositional phenomena. This paper argues, in contrast, that he had good reasons for employing an extremely narrow notion of ‘Voraussetzung’. On Frege’s view, many devices that are now construed as presupposition triggers either express several thoughts at once or merely ‘illuminate’ a thought in a particular way. Fregean presuppositions, in contrast, are essentially tied to (...)
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  28. And Therefore.Bram Vaassen & Alex Sandgren - 2021 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    This article focuses on `therefore' constructions such as ‘The switch is on, and therefore the lights are on’. We submit that the contribution of `therefore’ is to express a dependence as part of the core content of these constructions, rather than being conveyed by conventional implicature (Grice 1975, Potts 2005, Neta 2013) or a triggered presupposition (Pavese 2017, forthcoming, Stokke 2017). We argue that the standard objections to this view can be answered by relying on the general projection hypothesis defended (...)
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  29. On the Nature of Presupposition: A Normative Speech Act Account.Manuel García-Carpintero - 2020 - Erkenntnis 85 (2):269-293.
    In this paper I provide a new account of linguistic presuppositions, on which they are ancillary speech acts defined by constitutive norms. After providing an initial intuitive characterization of the phenomenon, I present a normative speech act account of presupposition in parallel with Williamson’s analogous account of assertion. I explain how it deals well with the problem of informative presuppositions, and how it relates to accounts for the Triggering and Projection Problems for presuppositions. I conclude with a brief discussion of (...)
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  30. Presupposition and Consent.Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa - 2020 - Feminist Philosophy Quarterly 6 (4):Article 4.
    I argue that “consent” language presupposes that the contemplated action is or would be at someone else’s behest. When one does something for another reason—for example, when one elects independently to do something, or when one accepts an invitation to do something—it is linguistically inappropriate to describe the actor as “consenting” to it; but it is also inappropriate to describe them as “not consenting” to it. A consequence of this idea is that “consent” is poorly suited to play its canonical (...)
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  31. We’ve discovered that projection across conjunction is asymmetric.Matthew Mandelkern, Jérémy Zehr, Jacopo Romoli & Florian Schwarz - 2020 - Linguistics and Philosophy 43 (5):473-514.
    Is the mechanism behind presupposition projection and filtering fundamentally asymmetric or symmetric? This is a foundational question for the theory of presupposition which has been at the centre of attention in recent literature. It also bears on broader issues concerning the source of asymmetries observed in natural language: are these simply rooted in superficial asymmetries of language use ; or are they, at least in part, directly encoded in linguistic knowledge and representations? In this paper we aim to make progress (...)
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  32. Really Expressive Presuppositions and How to Block Them.Teresa Marques & Manuel García-Carpintero - 2020 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 97 (1):138-158.
    Kaplan (1999) argued that a different dimension of expressive meaning (“use-conditional”, as opposed to truth-conditional) is required to characterize the meaning of pejoratives, including slurs and racial epithets. Elaborating on this, writers have argued that the expressive meaning of pejoratives and slurs is either a conventional implicature (Potts 2007) or a presupposition (Macià 2002 and 2014, Schlenker 2007, Cepollaro and Stojanovic 2016). We argue that an expressive presuppositional theory accounts well for the data, but that expressive presuppositions are not just (...)
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  33. Presuppositions, Attitudes, and Why They Matter.Caleb Perl - 2020 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 98 (2):363-381.
    This paper introduces and defends a high-level generalization about the way that presupposition triggers interact with attitude verbs. This generalization tells us a great deal about what an adequa...
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  34. "Ought" and Error.Christine Tiefensee - 2020 - Journal of Philosophy 117 (2):96-114.
    The moral error theory generally does not receive good press in metaethics. This paper adds to the bad news. In contrast to other critics, though, I do not attack error theorists’ characteristic thesis that no moral assertion is ever true. Instead, I develop a new counter-argument which questions error theorists’ ability to defend their claim that moral utterances are meaningful assertions. More precisely: Moral error theorists lack a convincing account of the meaning of deontic moral assertions, or so I will (...)
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  35. Lying with Presuppositions.Emanuel Viebahn - 2020 - Noûs 54 (3):731-751.
    It is widely held that all lies are assertions: the traditional definition of lying entails that, in order to lie, speakers have to assert something they believe to be false. It is also widely held that assertion contrasts with presupposition and, in particular, that one cannot assert something by presupposing it. Together, these views imply that speakers cannot lie with presuppositions—a view that Andreas Stokke has recently explicitly defended. The aim of this paper is to argue that speakers can lie (...)
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  36. Loose Talk, Scale Presuppositions and QUD.Daniel Hoek - 2019 - In Julian J. Schlöder, Dean McHugh & Floris Roelofsen (eds.), Proceedings of the 22nd Amsterdam Colloquium. pp. 171-180.
    I present a new pragmatic theory of loose talk, focussing on the loose use of numbers and measurement expressions. The account explains loose readings as arising from a pragmatic mechanism aimed at restoring relevance to the question under discussion (QUD), appealing to Krifka's notion of a measurement scale. The core motivating observation is that the loose reading of a claim need not be weaker than its literal content, as almost all pragmatic treatments of loose talk have assumed (e.g. Lasersohn). The (...)
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  37. Analizzare l’argomentazione sui social media. Il caso dei tweet di Salvini.Fabrizio Macagno - 2019 - Sistemi Intelligenti 3 (31):601-632.
    Twitter is an instrument used not only for sharing public or personal information, but also for persuading the audience. While specific platforms and software have been developed for analyzing macro-analytical data, and specific studies have focused on the linguistic dimension of the tweets, the argumentative dimension of the latter is unexplored to this date. This paper intends to propose a method grounded on the tools advanced in argumentation theory for capturing, coding, and assessing the different argumentative dimensions of the messages (...)
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  38. Presupposition Triggers and Presumptive Interpretation.Fabrizio Macagno - 2019 - In Alessandro Capone, Marco Carapezza & Franco Lo Piparo (eds.), FuFurther Advances in Pragmatics and Philosophy: Part 2 Theories and Applications. Cham, Switzerland: pp. 155-179.
    Pragmatic presuppositions are analyzed considering their relation with the notion of commitment, namely the dialogical acceptance of a proposition by an interlocutor. The attribution of commitments carried out by means of pragmatic presupposition is shown to depend on the reasonableness of the underlying presumptive reasoning, ultimately grounded on hierarchies of presumptions. On this perspective, the ordinary interpretation of pragmatic presuppositions as the “taking for granted” of propositions signaled by semantic or syntactic triggers becomes only the presumptive, prototypical interpretation of a (...)
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  39. Independence Day?Matthew Mandelkern & Daniel Rothschild - 2019 - Journal of Semantics 36 (2):193-210.
    Two recent and influential papers, van Rooij 2007 and Lassiter 2012, propose solutions to the proviso problem that make central use of related notions of independence—qualitative in the first case, probabilistic in the second. We argue here that, if these solutions are to work, they must incorporate an implicit assumption about presupposition accommodation, namely that accommodation does not interfere with existing qualitative or probabilistic independencies. We show, however, that this assumption is implausible, as updating beliefs with conditional information does not (...)
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  40. Frege’s Puzzle is About Identity After All.Elmar Unnsteinsson - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 99 (3):628-643.
    Many philosophers have argued or taken for granted that Frege's puzzle has little or nothing to do with identity statements. I show that this is wrong, arguing that the puzzle can only be motivated relative to a thinker's beliefs about the identity or distinctness of the relevant object. The result is important, as it suggests that the puzzle can be solved, not by a semantic theory of names or referring expressions as such, but simply by a theory of identity statements. (...)
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  41. Faultless Disagreement.Julia Zakkou - 2019 - Frankfurt am Main, Deutschland: Klostermann.
    People disagree frequently, about both objective and subjective matters. But while at least one party must be wrong in a disagreement about objective matters, it seems that both parties can be right when it comes to subjective ones: it seems that there can be faultless disagreements. But how is this possible? How can people disagree with one another if they are both right? And why should they? In recent years, a number of philosophers and linguists have argued that we must (...)
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  42. Conditional Heresies.Fabrizio Cariani & Simon Goldstein - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research (2):251-282.
  43. A Revised, Gradability-Based Semantics for Even.Yael Greenberg - 2018 - Natural Language Semantics 26 (1):51-83.
    This paper concentrates on giving precise content to the general wisdom on the scalar presupposition of even, according to which the prejacent of even, p, is stronger than its relevant focus alternatives, q. To that end I first examine both familiar challenges for the popular ‘comparative likelihood’ view of the ‘stronger than’ relation, as well as novel challenges, having to do with the context dependency of even and with its sensitivity to standards of comparison. To overcome these challenges and to (...)
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  44. A Dialectical Approach to Presupposition.Fabrizio Macagno - 2018 - Intercultural Pragmatics 15 (2):291-313.
    This paper advances an approach to presupposition rooted in the concept of commitment, a dialectical notion weaker than truth and belief. It investigates ancient medieval dialectical theories and develops the insights thereof for analyzing how presuppositions are evaluated and why a proposition is presupposed. In particular, at a pragmatic level, presuppositions are reconstructed as the conclusions of implicit arguments from presumptive reasoning, grounded on presumptions of different type and nature. A false (or rather unaccepted) presupposition can be thus represented as (...)
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  45. Assessing Relevance.Fabrizio Macagno - 2018 - Lingua 210:42-64.
    This paper advances an approach to relevance grounded on patterns of material inference called argumentation schemes, which can account for the reconstruction and the evaluation of relevance relations. In order to account for relevance in different types of dialogical contexts, pursuing also non-cognitive goals, and measuring the scalar strength of relevance, communicative acts are conceived as dialogue moves, whose coherence with the previous ones or the context is represented as the conclusion of steps of material inferences. Such inferences are described (...)
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  46. Refusing to Endorse. A Must Explanation for Pejoratives.Carlo Penco - 2018 - In Annalisa Coliva, Paolo Leonardi & Sebastiano Moruzzi (eds.), Eva Picardi on Language, Analysis and History. London: Palgrave. pp. 219-239.
    In her analysis of pejoratives, Eva Picardi rejects a too sharp separation between descriptive and expressive content. I reconstruct some of her arguments, endorsing Eva’s criticism of Williamson’s analysis of Dummett and developing a suggestion by Manuel Garcia Carpintero on a speech act analysis of pejoratives. Eva’s main concern is accounting for our instinctive refusal to endorse an assertion containing pejoratives because it suggests a picture of reality we do not share. Her stance might be further developed claiming that uses (...)
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  47. Lying and Insincerity.Andreas Stokke - 2018 - Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
    Andreas Stokke presents a comprehensive study of lying and insincere language use. He investigates how lying relates to other forms of insincerity and explores the kinds of attitudes that go with insincere uses of language. -/- Part I develops an account of insincerity as a linguistic phenomenon. Stokke provides a detailed theory of the distinction between lying and speaking insincerely, and accounts for the relationship between lying and deceiving. A novel framework of assertion underpins the analysis of various kinds of (...)
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  48. On Denying Presuppositions.Lenny Clapp - 2017 - Synthese 194 (6).
    Strawson :96–118, 1964) argued that definite NPs trigger presuppositions as an aspect of their conventional meanings, and this semantic conception of presupposition triggers is incorporated into the binding theory of presuppositions. The phenomenon of presupposition denials, however, presents a problem for the semantic conception of presupposition triggers, for in such denials the alleged semantic presuppositions seem to be “cancelled” by a negation operator. Geurts :274–307, 1998; Presupposition and pronouns, 1999) attempts to solve this problem by utilizing the binding theory’s allowance (...)
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  49. When Can We Know Our Assumptions?Terence Rajivan Edward - 2017 - Philosophical Pathways 208:1-4.
    The expression “The owl of Minerva flies at dusk” is used to convey that philosophers are only able to identify the assumptions that are made within a period of history, a period of which they are part, when that period is coming to an end and those assumptions will soon no longer be made. In this paper, I support a rival view according to which those involved in a historical period can know their assumptions earlier, given appropriate talent and effort.
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  50. ‘Ought Implies Can’: Not So Pragmatic After All.Alex King - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 95 (3):637-661.
    Those who want to deny the ‘ought implies can’ principle often turn to weakened views to explain ‘ought implies can’ phenomena. The two most common versions of such views are that ‘ought’ presupposes ‘can’, and that ‘ought’ conversationally implicates ‘can’. This paper will reject both views, and in doing so, present a case against any pragmatic view of ‘ought implies can’. Unlike much of the literature, I won't rely on counterexamples, but instead will argue that each of these views fails (...)
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