Presuppositions and Pronouns

Elsevier (1999)

Abstract

In this volume, Geurts takes discourse representation theory (DRT), and turns it into a unified account of anaphora and presupposition, which he applies not only to the standard problem cases but also to the interpretation of modal expressions, attitude reports, and proper names. The resulting theory, for all its simplicity, is without doubt the most comprehensive of its kind to date. The central idea underlying Geurts' 'binding theory' of presupposition is that anaphora is just a special case of presupposition projection. But this is only one of the ways in which the concept of presupposition is taken beyond its traditional limits. Geurts shows, furthermore, that presupposition projection is crucially involved in several phenomena that are not usually viewed in presuppositional terms, such as modal subordination, de re readings of attitude reports, and rigid designation. While making his case for DRT and the binding theory, Geurts also presents an incisive analysis of what is probably still the most influential account of presupposition, viz. the satisfaction theory, demonstrating that there are fundamental problems not only with this theory but with the very framework in which it is couched.

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Bart Geurts
Radboud University Nijmegen

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