Be Articulate: A Pragmatic Theory of Presupposition Projection

Theoretical Linguistics 34 (3):157-212 (2008)

Philippe Schlenker
Institut Jean Nicod
: In the 1980s, the analysis of presupposition projection contributed to a ‘dynamic turn’ in semantics: the classical notion of meanings as truth conditions was replaced with a dynamic notion of meanings as Context Change Potentials. We argue that this move was misguided, and we offer an alternative in which presupposition projection follows from the combination of a fully classical semantics and a new pragmatic principle, which we call Be Articulate. This principle requires that a meaning pp’ conceptualized as involving a pre-condition p should be articulated as … … rather than as … pp’ …, unless the full conjunction is ruled out because the first or the second conjunct is semantically idle. In particular, … … is infelicitous - and hence … pp’ … is acceptable - if one can determine as soon as p and is uttered that no matter how the sentence ends these words could be eliminated without affecting its contextual meaning. An equivalence theorem guarantees that this condition suffices to derive Heim’s results in almost all cases. Extensions of the condition lead to several new predictions, in particular concerning some ‘symmetric readings’, as well as presupposition projection in quantified structures, which displays a complex interaction between the nature of the trigger and the monotonicity of the quantifier
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Bounded Modality.Matthew Mandelkern - 2019 - Philosophical Review 128 (1):1-61.
Economy and Embedded Exhaustification.Danny Fox & Benjamin Spector - 2018 - Natural Language Semantics 26 (1):1-50.
If P, Then P!Matthew Mandelkern - forthcoming - Journal of Philosophy.
Connectives Without Truth Tables.Nathan Klinedinst & Daniel Rothschild - 2012 - Natural Language Semantics 20 (2):137-175.
Maximize Presupposition and Gricean Reasoning.Philippe Schlenker - 2012 - Natural Language Semantics 20 (4):391-429.

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