Events

Presuppositions can produce what come across as inferential effects. An example is the following three-sentence discourse:

(1) ‘I gave the workers a generous tip. One thanked me. The other left without saying a word.’ (see [1])

This discourse seems to entail that the number of workers referred to in the first sentence was 2. This effect is quite systematic, as can be observed by varying the subject phrases of the second and third sentence of (1). (For instance, substitute ‘two’ for ‘one’ in the second sentence or ‘another one’ for ‘the other one’ in the third.) Examples showing similar effects have long been known from work of Kripke [2], which has been in informal circulation since 1990 and appeared in Linguistic Inquiry in 2009.

The aim of the talk is two-fold: (a) a critical evaluation of Kripke’s discussion of such cases; (b) the presentation of a framework in which the mechanisms that are responsible for (quasi-)inferential effects of the kind exemplified by (1) can be adequately represented.

[1] H. Kamp, ‘Presupposition Computation and Presupposition Justification’. In M. Bras & L. Vieu (eds.) Pragmatic and Semantic Issues in Discourse and Dialogue. Crispi, Elsevier, 2001

[2] S. Kripke ‘Presupposition and Anaphora: Remarks on the Formulation of the Projection Problem.’ Linguistic Inquiry, Vol. 40, Nr. 3, 2009