In this chapter, I produce counterexamples to Presuppositional Epistemic Contextualism (PEC), a view about the semantics of ‘knowledge’-ascriptions that I have argued for elsewhere. According to PEC, the semantic content of the predicate ‘know’ at a context C is partly determined by the speakers’ pragmatic presuppositions at C. The problem for the view that I shall be concerned with here arises from the fact that pragmatic presuppositions are sometimes known to be true by the speakers who make them: (...) hence the Problem of Known Presuppositions. After discussing several unsuccessful ways to solve the problem, I propose the addition of a new Lewisian rule of proper ignoring to the semantics of PEC--namely, the Rule of Evidence-Based Ignoring. If the proposed account succeeds, the Problem of Known Presuppositions has a straightforward solution within the framework of PEC. (shrink)
The central idea behind this paper is that presuppositions of soft triggers arise from the way our attention structures the informational content of a sentence. Some aspects of the information conveyed are such that we pay attention to them by default, even in the absence of contextual information. On the other hand, contextual cues or conversational goals can divert attention to types of information that we would not pay attention to by default. Either way, whatever we do not pay (...) attention to, be it by default, or in context, is what ends up presupposed by soft triggers. This paper attempts to predict what information in the sentence is likely to end up being the main point (i.e. what we pay attention to) and what information is independent from this, and therefore likely presupposed. It is proposed that this can be calculated by making reference to event times. The notion of aboutness used to calculate independence is based on that of Demolombe and Fariñas del Cerro (In: Holdobler S (ed) Intellectics and computational logic: papers in honor of Wolfgang Bibel, 2000). (shrink)
Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa has presented a series of examples that are meant to spell trouble for Presuppositional Epistemic Contextualism. In this short article I aim to establish two things. First, I argue that even if Ichikawa’s examples were viable counterexamples to PEC, they would not threaten the key ideas underlying the account in my 2009 article ‘Knowledge and Presuppositions’. The philosophically interesting work that is done in that article remains unaffected by Ichikawa’s alleged counterexamples. In the second part of (...) the paper, I argue that the examples are not in fact successful counterexamples to PEC. The data emerging from Ichikawa’s examples can be accounted for within the framework of PEC. (shrink)
Abstract Utterances of counterfactual conditionals are typically attended by the information that their antecedents are false. But there is as yet no account of the source of this information that is both detailed and complete. This paper describes the problem of counterfactual antecedent falsity and argues that the problem can be addressed by appeal to an adequate account of the presuppositions of various competing conditional constructions. It argues that indicative conditionals presuppose that their antecedents are epistemically possible, while subjunctive (...) conditionals bear no presupposition. Given this arrangement, utterance of the counterfactual results in an antipresupposition, that is, a scalar implicature generated from the presuppositions of competing alternatives rather than from the at-issue content of competing alternatives. The content of the antipresupposition is the negation of the presupposition of the competing indicative, i.e., that the antecedent of the conditional is known to be false by the speaker. (shrink)
In researching presuppositions dealing with logic and dynamic of belief we distinguish two related parts. The first part refers to presuppositions and logic, which is not necessarily involved with intentional operators. We are primarily concerned with classical, free and presuppositonal logic. Here, we practice a well known Strawson’s approach to the problem of presupposition in relation to classical logic. Further on in this work, free logic is used, especially Van Fraassen’s research of the role of presupposition in supervaluations (...) logical systems. At the end of the first part, presuppositional logic, advocated by S.K. Thomason, is taken into consideration. The second part refers to the presuppositions in relation to the logic of the dynamics of belief. Here the logic of belief change is taken into consideration and other epistemic notions with immanent mechanism for the presentation of the dynamics. Three representative and dominant approaches are evaluated. First, we deal with new, less classical, situation semantics. Besides Strawson’s theory, the second theory is the theory of the belief change, developed by Alchourron, Gärdenfors, and Makinson (AGM theory). At the end, the oldest, universal, and dominant approach is used, recognized as Hintikka’s approach to the analysis of epistemic notions. (shrink)
This paper reports an experimental investigation of presuppositions and scalar implicatures in language acquisition. Recent proposals posit the same mechanisms for generating both types of inferences, in contrast to the traditional view. We used a Covered Box picture selection task to compare the interpretations assigned by two groups of children and by adults, in response to sentences with presuppositions and ones with either ‘direct’ or ‘indirect’ scalar implicatures. The main finding was that the behavior of children and adults (...) differed across inference types. This asymmetry is consistent with the traditional perspective, but poses a challenge for the more recent uniform accounts. We discuss how the latter could be amended to account for these findings, and also relate the findings to previous results on presupposition processing. Finally, we discuss an unexpected difference found between direct and indirect scalar implicatures. (shrink)
The combinatory restriction known in linguistics as ‘selection restrictions’ are generally assumed to be a kind of linguistic structures, either syntactic or semantic, or at best cognitive structures. The idea discussed in this paper is that selection restrictions, although relevant for the description of complex meanings of linguistic expressions, do not belong to the structure of either language or cognition in any reasonable sense. Instead, they are criteria for conceptual consistency. They form a layer of shared presuppositions that lie (...) at the grounds of consistent human behaviour and therefore of consistent thought and expression and belong to a natural ontology shared far beyond the boundaries of a given linguistic community. (shrink)
Common philosophical discussions concerning the ethics of human interaction with the biosphere and universe have been significantly informed by certain presuppositions: nature is conquerable; human cultural and social progress is somewhat like a thing, beyond human control, and is inevitable and benevolent; and Homo sapiens is the superior life-form. Although arguments, such as whether humans should conquer nature, founded upon these presuppositions have sometimes been challenged, each of these three presuppositions wants direct analysis. The three have become (...) so ingrained in professional and everyday discourse that they have mythic proportions, as though beyond question. Because of the weightiness of the relevant philosophical issues, they merit overt analysis. Although they are independent and may be analyzed separately, this article treats them as whole, as they often work together in arguments. After finding substantial problems, the article suggests alternative ways of building sustainable presuppositions in similar territory. (shrink)
Knowledge and Presuppositions develops a novel account of epistemic contextualism based on the idea that pragmatic presuppositions play a central role in the semantics of knowledge attributions. According to Blome-Tillmann, knowledge attributions are sensitive to what is pragmatically presupposed at the context of ascription. The resulting theory--Presuppositional Epistemic Contextualism (PEC)--is simple and straightforward, yet powerful enough to have far-reaching and important consequences for a variety of hotly debated issues in epistemology and philosophy of language. -/- In this book, (...) Blome-Tillmann first develops Presuppositional Epistemic Contextualism and then explores its ability to resolve various sceptical paradoxes and puzzles. Blome-Tillmann also defends PEC against familiar and widely discussed philosophical and linguistic objections to contextualism. In the final chapters of the book PEC is employed to illuminate a variety of concerns central to contemporary discussions of epistemological issues, such as Gettier cases, Moorean reasoning, the nature of evidence, and other current problems and puzzles. (shrink)
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. This principled taxonomy predicts differences in behavior unexpected on other models among the various conventional triggers and conversational implicatures, while holding promise for a general, explanatory account of projection which applies to all the types of meanings considered. (shrink)
There are three ways to refer to a fact from the complement of afactive verb: (1) Via abstract object anaphoric reference, or, witha full sentential complement that will be interpreted either (2) asa bound presupposition or (3) as triggering a presupposition of afact that will have to be accommodated. Spoken corpus examplesreveal that these three possibilities differ in relation to thetype of information they tend to contribute, and this has twoeffects. First, the information status of the fact and its role (...) inthe discourse seem to affect the preference for one constructionover another in a particular context. Second, presupposed factivecomplements that need to be accommodated tend to be hearer-new andthe focus of the utterance, meaning that information structureseems to contribute to the felicity of accommodation ofpresupposed facts. (shrink)
The paper confronts the disagreement argument for relativism about matters of taste, defending a specific form of contextualism. It is first considered whether the disagreement data might manifest an inviariantist attitude speakers pre-reflectively have. Semantic and ontological enlightenment should then make the impressions of disagreement vanish, or at least leave them as lingering ineffectual Müller-Lyer-like illusions; but it is granted to relativists that this does not fully happen. López de Sa’s appeal to presuppositions of commonality and Sundell’s appeal to (...) metalinguistic disagreement are discussed, and it is argued that, although they help to clarify the issues, they do not fully explain why such impressions remain under enlightenment. To do it, the paper develops a suggestion that other writers have made, that the lingering impression of disagreement is a consequence of a practical conflict, appealing to dispositions to practical coordination that come together with presuppositions of commonality in axiological matters. (shrink)
Some theories assume that sentences like (i) with a presupposition trigger in the scope of a quantifier carry an existential presupposition, as in (ii); others assume that they carry a universal presupposition, as in (iii). No student knows that he is lucky. Existential presupposition: At least one student is lucky.Universal presupposition: Every student is lucky. This work is an experimental investigation of this issue in French. Native speakers were recruited to evaluate the robustness of the inference from (i) to (iii). (...) The main result is that presuppositions triggered from the scope of the quantifier aucun‘no’ are in fact universal. But the present results also suggest that the presuppositions triggered from the scope of other quantifiers depend on the quantifier. This calls for important changes in the main theories of presupposition projection. (shrink)
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 that they do.”1 This is the question on which this paper will focus. (shrink)
This chapter defends a version of the indexical contextualist form of moderate relativism: the attempt to endorse appearances of faultless disagreement within the framework in which a sentence at a context at the index of the context determines its appropriate truth-value. Many object that any such an indexical proposal would fail to account for intuitions of (genuine) disagreement as revealed in ordinary disputes in the domain. The defence from this objection exploits presuppositions of commonality to the effect that the (...) addressee is relevantly like the speaker of the context. (shrink)
I provide a novel semantic analysis of proper names and indexicals, combining insights from the competing traditions of referentialism, championed by Kripke and Kaplan, and descriptivism, introduced by Frege and Russell, and more recently resurrected by Geurts and Elbourne, among others. From the referentialist tradition, I borrow the proof that names and indexicals are not synonymous to any definite description but pick their referent from the context directly. From the descriptivist tradition, I take the observation that names, and to some (...) extent indexicals, have uses that are best understood by analogy with anaphora and definite descriptions, that is, following Geurts, in terms of presupposition projection. The hybrid analysis that I propose is couched in Layered Discourse Representation Theory. Proper names and indexicals trigger presuppositions in a dedicated layer, which is semantically interpreted as providing a contextual anchor for the interpretation of the other layers. For the proper resolution of DRSs with layered presuppositions, I add two constraints to van der Sandt's algorithm. The resulting proposal accounts for both the classic philosophical examples and the new linguistic data, preserving a unified account of the preferred rigid interpretation of both names and indexicals, while leaving room for non-referential readings under contextual pressure. (shrink)
In this article, I propose a semantic account of temporally mismatched past subjunctive counterfactuals. The proposal consists of the following parts. First, I show that in cases of temporal mismatch, [past] cannot be interpreted inside the proposition where it occurs at surface structure. Instead, it must be interpreted as constraining the time argument of the accessibility relation. This has the effect of shifting the time of the evaluation of the conditional to some contextually salient past time. Second, I will propose (...) specific felicity conditions (presuppositions) for subjunctive conditionals and I will argue that there is a strict correspondence between the time of evaluation in the truth conditions of a conditional and the time relevant for the felicity conditions. In other words, if the time relevant for the accessibility relation has been shifted to the past, then the conditional's presupposition will make reference to a past context. On the other hand, if no past is constraining the time argument of the accessibility relation, the conditional's felicity will make reference to the current (main) context. Third, I will argue that the intuition that the antecedent of mismatched counterfactuals is not true is a scalar implicature arising from a competition not between assertions but between presuppositions. Finally, I will investigate the repercussions of my proposal for the general theory of modality. (shrink)
Although in some contexts the notions of an ordinary argument’s presumption, assumption, and presupposition appear to merge into the one concept of an implicit premise, there are important differences between these three notions. It is argued that assumption and presupposition, but not presumption, are basic logical notions. A presupposition of an argument is best understood as pertaining to a propositional element (a premise or the conclusion) e of the argument, such that the presupposition is a necessary condition for the truth (...) of e or for a term in e to have a referent. In contrast, an assumption of an argument pertains to the argument as a whole in that it is integral to the reasoning or inferential structure of the argument. A logical assumption of an argument is essentially a proposition that must be true in order for the argument aside from that proposition to be fully cogent. Nothing that is both comparable and distinguishing can be said about presumptions of arguments. Rather, presumptions of arguments are distinctively conventional; they are introduced through conventional rules (e.g., those that concern how to treat promises). So not all assumptions and not all presuppositions of arguments are presumptions of those arguments, although all presumptions of arguments are either assumptions or presuppositions of those arguments. This account avoids making the (monological) notion of presumption vacuous and dissolving the distinction between assumption and presumption, which is a vulnerability of alternative views such as Hansen’s and Bermejo-Luque’s, as is shown. (shrink)
Potts (2005, 2007) has argued that expressives such as honky must be analyzed using an entirely new dimension of meaning. We explore a more conservative theory in which expressives are presuppositional expressions [Macià 2002] that are indexical and attitudinal (and sometimes shiftable): they predicate something of the mental state of the agent of the context (and this need not always be the agent of the actual context). Following Stalnaker’s recent work on informative presuppositions (2002), we argue that the (...) class='Hi'>presuppositions triggered by expressives are automatically satisfied (= ’self-fulfilling’), hence the impression that they are not standard presupposition triggers. (shrink)
In this paper I elaborate on previous criticisms of the influential Stalnakerian account of presuppositions, pointing out that the well-known practice of informative presupposition puts heavy strain on Stalnaker’s pragmatic characterization of the phenomenon of presupposition, in particular of the triggering of presuppositions. Stalnaker has replied to previous criticisms by relying on the well-taken point that we should take into account the time at which presupposition-requirements are to be computed. In defense of a different, ‘semantic’ account of the (...) phenomenon of presupposition, I argue that that point does not suffice to rescue the Stalnakerian proposal, and I portray Lewisian ‘accommodation’ as one way in which speakers adjust themselves to one another in the course of conversation. (shrink)
In this paper, I will argue for a new account of presuppositions which is based on double indexing as well as minimal representational contexts providing antecedent material for anaphoric presuppositions, rather than notions of context defined in terms of the interlocutors’ pragmatic presuppositions or the information accumulated from the preceding discourse. This account applies in particular to new phenomena concerning the presupposition of quantifier domains. But it is also intended to be an account of presuppositions in (...) general. The account differs from the Satisfaction Theory and the Binding Theory of presuppositions in that it can be viewed as a conservative extension of traditional static semantics and in that it does not involve the notion of pragmatic presupposition. (shrink)
I develop a class of counterexamples to Blome-Tillmann’s ‘Presuppositional Epistemic Contextualism’. There are cases in which subjects are ignorant of key propositions that are inconsistent with the pragmatic presuppositions in conversational contexts in which they are discussed; in such contexts, PEC wrongly predicts the subjects to satisfy certain ‘knows’ attributions.
Sentence (1) strongly suggests that the speaker does not have a sister:(1)John believes that I have a sister.a.Alternative:John knows that I have a sister.b.Actual inference:The speaker does not have a sister.c.Predicted inference:It is not common belief that the speaker has a sister.According to Heim (1991), Percus (2006), and Sauerland (2006), this inference should follow from the comparison of (1) to (1a). However, such an analysis would only predict a very weak implicature: it is not common belief that the speaker has (...) a sister. I propose to strengthen this prediction by two means. First, I rely on a precise understanding of the modern Stalnakerian view of presuppositions and common ground (Stalnaker 1998, 2002; von Fintel 2000; Schlenker 2006). Second, I argue that this inference depends on contextual factors. More precisely, I show that the Competence Assumption (see Spector 2003; van Rooij & Schulz 2004; Sauerland 2004) necessary to obtain secondary scalar implicatures should be supplemented with an Authority Assumption. I motivate this additional assumption on independent empirical grounds. Finally, I show how my proposal accounts for a wide variety of inferences with fine variations governed by (i) contextual differences and (ii) specific properties of the presupposition triggers involved. (shrink)
This paper consists of two main parts and a coda. In the first part I present the ''binding theory'' of presupposition projection, which is the framework that I adopt in this paper (Section 1.1). I outline the main problems that arise in the interplay between presuppositions and anaphors on the one hand and attitude reports on the other (Section 1.2), and discuss Heim''s theory of presuppositions in attitude contexts (Section 1.3).In the second part of the paper I present (...) my own proposal. To begin with, I define an extension of DRT in which attitude reports can be represented (Sections 2.1–2.2). I then argue that the verb believe triggers a certain presupposition and that, given the binding theory, this presupposition determines the projection behaviour of the verb (Section 2.3). This analysis yields predictions which are incomplete in the sense that they do not fully account for speakers'' intuitions about presuppositions and anaphors in belief contexts. In Section 2.4 I suggest that this is as it should be because we may assume on independent grounds that there is a class of plausibility inferences which complement the predictions of the presupposition theory. Finally, the analysis is extended to the verb want (Section 2.5). (shrink)
Metaphysical presuppositions are important for guiding scientific practices and research. The success of twentieth-century biology, for instance, is largely attributable to presupposing that complex biological processes are reducible to elementary components. However, some biologists have challenged the sufficiency of reductionism for investigating complex biological phenomena and have proposed alternative presuppositions like organicism. In this article, contemporary cancer research is used as a case study to explore the importance of metaphysical presuppositions for guiding research. The predominant paradigm directing (...) cancer research is the somatic mutation theory, in which mutated genes are presumed to be ultimately responsible for explaining carcinogenesis. This reductionistic approach to cancer has been criticised recently, and an organistic approach has been proposed. The article concludes with a discussion of the reciprocal interaction of metaphysical presuppositions and scientific practices for investigating cancer's complex nature. (shrink)
This paper 1) examines Husserl’s critique of presuppositions, a critique that realizes a desideratum of the Western philosophical tradition precisely by clarifying and grounding the latter’s own tacit presuppositions; 2) surveys Husserl’s descriptions of the apperceptions whose operative efficacy make tradition itself effective, holding good at both the individual and the generative levels; 3) identifies the need for a further critique of the psychophysical apperception in particular; and 4) offers a phenomenologically grounded alternative to the latter way of (...) understanding and experiencing embodiment. (shrink)
The traditional sciences have always had trouble with ambiguity. To overcome this barrier, ‘science’ has imposed “enabling constraints”—hidden assumptions which are given the status of ceteris paribus. Such assumptions allow ambiguity to be bracketed away at the expense of transparency. These enabling constraints take the form of uncritically examined presuppositions, which we refer to throughout the article as “uceps.” The meanings of the various uceps are shown via their applicability to the science of climate change. Second order science examines (...) variations in values assumed for these uceps and looks at the resulting impacts on related scientific claims. Second order science reveals hidden issues, problems and assumptions which all too often escape the attention of the practicing scientist. This article lays out initial foundations for second order science, its ontology, methodology, and implications. (shrink)
This paper begins with a discussion ofcumulativity (e.g., ‘P(a) & P(b) implies P(a+b)’), formalized using a verb phrase operator. Next, the meanings of distributivity markers such aseach and non-distributivity indicators such astogether are considered. An existing analysis ofeach in terms of quantification over parts of a plurality is adopted. However,together is problematic, for it involves a cancellation or negation of the quantification associated witheach. (The four boys together owned exactly three cars could not be true if each of the boys (...) owned three cars, though the same sentence withouttogether could be.) A refinement of this idea of negated quantification over parts is proposed as an analysis for non-distributivity operators. It is then worked out in the system described in Cooper (1983), in which positive and negative extensions are assigned. Presuppositions connected with plural reference are considered at this point as well. Finally, the cumulativity operator is argued to be quantificational and therefore sensitive to contextual domain selection. This context sensitivity is claimed to be the source of distributive readings that appear in the absence of modifiers likeeach and non-distributive or collective readings that arise withouttogether. (shrink)
Some presuppositions seem to be weaker than others in the sense that they can be more easily neutralized in some contexts. For example some factive verbs, most notably epistemic factives like know, be aware, and discover, are known to shed their factivity fairly easily in contexts such as are found in (1). (1) a. …if anyone discovers that the method is also wombat-proof, I’d really like to know! b. Mrs. London is not aware that there have ever been signs (...) erected to stop use of the route… c. Perhaps God knows that we will never reach the stars…. (The examples in (1) are all naturally occurring ones, discovered by David Beaver with the aid of Google; cf. Beaver 2002, exx. 32, 43, and 51, respectively.) On the other hand some other factives, e.g. regret, matter, and be surprised, do not exhibit the same type of behavior: (2) a. If any of the students regrets behaving badly, they’ll let us know. b. It doesn’t matter that the chimpanzees escaped. c. Was Bill surprised that spinach was included? Unlike the examples in (1), those in (2) could not be used appropriately in contexts where the speaker was not assuming that the complement clause was true. Our main concern will be trying to find the cause of this difference. However, before we get to that, we will look more closely at the concept “presupposition” itself, as well as its close neighbor in the linguistic literature, “conventional implicature” (section 2), and also at various ways of getting rid of presuppositions (section 3). In section 4 we will investigate two possible explanations for differences in presupposition triggering – the “lexical alternative” approach of Abusch (2002, 2005), and a suggestion of Ladusaw’s involving detachability of presuppositions. The final section contains concluding remarks. (shrink)
In this paper it will be shown how conditional presuppositions can be strengthened to unconditional ones if we assume that the antecedent and consequent of a conditional presupposition are independent of one another. Our notion of independence is very weak, and based on Lewis' (1988) notion of orthogonality of questions. It will be argued that our way of strengthening these presuppositions does not give rise to some wrong predictions Geurts (1996) argued other proposed strengthening accounts do.
According to one view of linguistic information, a speaker can convey contextually new information in one of two ways: by asserting the content as new information; or by presupposing the content as given information which would then have to be accommodated. This distinction predicts that it is conversationally more appropriate to assert implausible information rather than presuppose it. A second view rejects the assumption that presuppositions are accommodated; instead, presuppositions are assimilated into asserted content and both are correspondingly (...) open to challenge. Under this view, we should not expect to find a difference in conversational appropriateness between asserting implausible information and presupposing it. To distinguish between these two views of linguistic information, we performed two self-paced reading experiments with an on-line stops-making-sense judgment. The results of the two experiments—using the presupposition triggers the and too—show that accommodation is inappropriate relative to non-presuppositional controls when the presupposed information is implausible but not when it is plausible. These results provide support for the first view of linguistic information: the contrast in implausible contexts can only be explained if there is a presupposition-assertion distinction and accommodation is a mechanism dedicated to reasoning about presuppositions. (shrink)
Presuppositions are capable of projecting from under the scope of operators such as negation, but do not obligatorily do so. This creates a potential difficulty for the hearer of presupposition-bearing utterances, especially given the fact that speaker can use presupposition to convey entirely new information. In this paper, I discuss the potential role of context in resolving this tension, and in particular, I argue that the inferences that are drawn about the current discourse purpose may be materially relevant to (...) the interpretation of potential presuppositions. I also consider some of the implications of this for recent experimental work on presupposition and projection. (shrink)
A Mug's Game? Solving the Problem of Induction with Metaphysical Presuppositions Nicholas Maxwell Emeritus Reader in Philosophy of Science at University College London Email: email@example.com Website: www.ucl.ac.uk/from-knowledge-to-wisdom . Abstract This paper argues that a view of science, expounded and defended elsewhere, solves the problem of induction. The view holds that we need to see science as accepting a hierarchy of metaphysical theses concerning the comprehensibility and knowability of the universe, these theses asserting less and less as we go up (...) the hierarchy. It may seem that this view must suffer from vicious circularity, in so far as accepting physical theories is justified by an appeal to metaphysical theses in turn justified by the success of science. But this is rebutted. A thesis high up in the hierarchy asserts that the universe is such that the element of circularity, just indicated, is legitimate and justified, and not vicious. Acceptance of the thesis is in turn justified without appeal to the success of science. It may seem that the practical problem of induction can only be solved along these lines if there is a justification of the truth of the metaphysical theses in question. It is argued that this demand must be rejected as it stems from an irrational conception of science. (shrink)
I pursue an answer to the psychological question “what is it for S to presuppose that p?” I will not attempt a general answer. Rather, I will explore a particular kind of presuppositions that are constituted by the mental act of reasoning: Inferential presuppositions. Indeed, I will consider a specific kind of inferential presuppositions—one that is constituted by a specific reasoning competence: The univocality competence. Roughly, this is the competence that reliably governs the univocal thought-components’ operation as (...) univocal in a line of reasoning. I will argue that the exercise of this reasoning competence constitutes certain inferential presuppositions. More specifically, I outline a conception of an inferential presupposition as a non-attitudinal but genuinely psychological and rationally committing relation that holds between a reasoner and a proposition. Thus, inferential presuppositions may be distinguished from tacit or standing attitudes that function as premise-beliefs in reasoning. Likewise inferential presuppositions may be distinguished from other kinds of presuppositions. In conclusion, I note some features of inferential presuppositions that bear on the epistemology of inference. (shrink)
The contribution of philosophical ethics to the development of a just conception of education becomes increasingly complex under modern conditions of democratic pluralism. This is because the justification of moral policies for education faces the skeptical challenge of showing how the substantive moral principles upon which a policy rests do not arbitrarily privilege one culturally situated conception of justice over others. In this essay, Christopher Martin argues that this challenge highlights how any legitimate moral point of view on education requires (...) public justification, where a valid moral policy must be demonstrated to be worthy of recognition in a public setting and justified through the reciprocal exchange of reasons. He develops the scope and nature of public justification through an analysis of R.S. Peters’s Ethics and Education and the work of Jürgen Habermas. Both Peters and Habermas argue that public justification entails necessary and unavoidable presuppositions of practical reason, presuppositions that form the basis of a procedural theory of moral justification. Martin discusses the implications of such a procedural approach for the development of educational policy. (shrink)
We investigate the interactions between scalar implicatures and presuppositions in sentences containing both a scalar item and presupposition trigger. We first critically discuss Gajewski and Sharvit’s previous approach. We then closely examine two ways of integrating an exhaustivity-based theory of scalar implicatures with a trivalent approach to presuppositions. The empirical side of our discussion focuses on two novel observations: the interactions between prosody and monotonicity, and what we call presupposed ignorance. In order to account for these observations, our (...) final proposal relies on two mechanisms of scalar strengthening, the Presupposed Ignorance Principle and an exhaustivity operator which lets the presuppositions of negated alternatives project. (shrink)
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 for local accommodation. Geurts’ proposal, however, is inadequate, primarily because Geurts formulates the binding theory within discourse representation theory, which makes no allowance for the illocutionary force of denial. Asher and Lascarides’ segmented discourse representation theory, however, has the resources to account for the illocutionary force of denial. Utilizing a version of SDRT I demonstrate that the “cancelling” of a presupposition by echoic negation in presupposition denials crucially depends upon the denial of information that is pragmatically communicated by accommodation. (shrink)
Reflection is an ambiguous buzzword in contemporary educational and professional settings. Work has been done to clarify the concept theoretically, but a gap remains between such clarifications and actual reflective activities in educational and work-related practices. Reflective activities embody epistemological presuppositions about the nature of competence, knowledge, and learning, and about the relation between thinking, communicating, and acting. In this article, Nina Bonderup Dohn identifies the epistemological presuppositions of two paradigm cases of reflection (“solitaire reflection” and “communicative reflection”) (...) and assesses these against a view of knowledge, competence, learning, and action inspired by the Scandinavian interpretation of Ludwig Wittgenstein's philosophy as well as by insights from phenomenology and situated learning. The outcome of Dohn's assessment is that the presuppositions of the paradigm cases are misguided and, therefore, so are the reflective activities. The problems and pitfalls that result from this situation are identified and illustrated with empirical examples. Dohn concludes by suggesting an alternative paradigm: “situated reflection.”. (shrink)
In ‘The Presuppositions of Religious Pluralism and the Need for Natural Theology’ I argue that there are four important presuppositions behind John Hick’s form of religious pluralism that successfully support it against what I call fideistic exclusivism. These are i) the ought/can principle, ii) the universality of religious experience, iii) the universality of redemptive change, and iv) a view of how God (the Eternal) would do things. I then argue that if these are more fully developed they support (...) a different kind of exclusivism, what I call rational exclusivism, and become defeaters for pluralism. In order to explain rational exclusivism and its dependence on these presuppositions I consider philosophers J.P. Moreland, William Lane Craig, and Alvin Plantinga, who offer arguments for their forms of exclusivism but I maintain that they continue to rely on fideism at important points. I then give an example of how knowledge of the Eternal can be achieved. (shrink)
The key to an adequate account of presupposition projection is to accommodate the fact that the presuppositions of a sentence cannot always be read off the sentence but can often be identified only on the basis of prior utterances in the conversation in which the sentence is uttered. In addition, an account of presupposition requires a three-valued semantics of assertibility and deniability in a context. Presuppositions can be explicated as sentences that belong to the conversation and the assertibility (...) of which ensures that the remaining assertibility and deniability conditions of the presupposition-bearing sentence are dual to one another. The prevailing approach to presuppositions, grounded in Heim’s context-change semantics, can be criticized both on philosophical grounds and for failing to accommodate the phenomena. (shrink)
Positivists identify science and certainty and in the name of the utter rationality of science deny that it rests on speculative presuppositions. The Logical Positivists took a step further and tried to show such presuppositions really no presuppositions at all but rather poorly worded sentences. Rules of sentence formation, however, rest on the presuppositions about the nature of language. This makes us unable to determine the status of mathematics, which is these days particularly irksome since this (...) question is now-since Abraham Robinson-one that mathematicians cannot ignore. Since mathematics is the paradigm of a logical discourse, logic must offer a system adequate enough to serve mathematics. This fact makes it difficult to avoid making question-begging moves in both mathematics and logic. We must therefore view the rationality of logic as partial and hope it is stepwise improvable. The theory of rationality thus turns to be the major presupposition of logic, and one which has ample metaphysical background to it. The very supposition, basic to all logic, that language is divisible into form andcontent is under suspicion-mathematics perhaps belongs to neither. (shrink)
In this paper it will be shown how conditional presuppositions can be strengthened to unconditional ones if we assume that the antecedent and consequent of a conditional presupposition are independent of one another. Our notion of independence is very weak, and based on Lewis' notion of orthogonality of questions. It will be argued that our way of strengthening these presuppositions does not give rise to some wrong predictions Geurts argued other proposed strengthening accounts do.
Discusses the empirical presuppositions of the metaphysical explanations in economics. Common arguments among philosophers of economics; Helen Boss’ arguments on productive-nonproductive distinction in economics; Domains of different economic theories; Methodological individualism in economics.
This paper has two goals. First, it illustrates how presuppositions present themselves. Second, it amplifies the comment that Russ made 1 about Terry Horgan and Mark Timmons: that their own presuppositions would likely stand toxically in the way of their discovering the important features of agency.
This article argues that toleration understood as the principled restraint from the use of force is an instance of RG. Collingwood's 'ideal of civility' towards which liberalism as the process of civilisation aspires. In the first part of this article, Toleration as Civility, I draw on Collingwood's philosophy to provide an account of toleration as an instance of civility embodying self-respect, historical consciousness, and complete freedom of the will. Accordingly, the limits of toleration are conceived as necessarily informed by the (...) level of civilisation in society, and relativism in such limits in society is part of the dynamic of the process of civilisation towards a universal ideal, and not an end state in itself. In the second part, Toleration and 'Absolute Presuppositions', it will be shown that Collingwood's theory of atonement and his assertion of the Christian roots of liberalism supports a view of toleration as a moral 'attitude' which captures the elements of atonement (those being punishment, forgiveness, love and hope), and highlights the relevance of Collingwood's theory of 'absolute presuppositions' to contemporary issues in political philosophy. (shrink)
Caitlin Smith Gilson, The metaphysical presuppositions of being-in-the-World: a confrontation between St. Thomas Aquinas and Martin Heidegger Content Type Journal Article Pages 157-161 DOI 10.1007/s11153-010-9263-4 Authors Christine Sorrell Dinkins, Department of Philosophy, Wofford College, 429 N. Church St., Spartanburg, SC 29303, USA Journal International Journal for Philosophy of Religion Online ISSN 1572-8684 Print ISSN 0020-7047 Journal Volume Volume 71 Journal Issue Volume 71, Number 2.
This is the second of three papers with the overall title: “A Quasi-Personal Alternative to Some Anglo-American Pluralist Models of Organisations: Towards an Analysis of Corporate Self-Governance for Virtuous Organisations”.1 In the first paper, entitled: “Organisations as quasi-personal entities: from ‘governing’ of the self to organisational ‘self ’-governance: a Neo-Aristotelian quasi-personal model of organisations”, the artificial corporate analogue of a natural person sketched there, was said to have quasi-directive, quasi-operational and quasi-enabling/resource-provision capacities. Its use of these capacities following joint deliberation (...) in ethically permissible and just joint acts, their effect on end-users and other parties, and conformity with or challenge to State law, arguably settles its moral status as an ethical or unethical organisational agent. This paper identifies and defends the presuppositions of this conception, and applies the results to business. (shrink)