2 Introduction“to some degree Justice Stewart’s comment about pornography holds here: we all recognize it [the presupposition relation] when we see it [but] we can’t say exactly what it is”S. Kripke 1990: ‘Presupposition and Anaphora: Remarks on the Formulation of the Projection Problem’, Manuscript, Princeton University.
3 The phenomenon The king of France is bald. >>There is a king of FranceJohn knows that Baird invented television.>> Baird invented televisionJohn regrets that he said the unsayable.>> John has said the unsayableMary stopped beating her boyfriend.>> Mary has been beating her boyfriend.The boy cried again.>> The boy cried before.
4 The phenomenon John managed to give up smoking. >> John tried to give up smokingAfter she shot to stardom in a romance film, Jane married a millionaire entrepreneur.>> Jane shot to stardom in a romance filmIt was Baird who invented television.>> someone invented televisionJulius is a bachelor.>> Julius is an adult male.I have written to every headmaster in Rochdale.>> There are headmasters in Rochdale
5 The phenomenon The author is Julius Seidensticker. >> Julius Seidensticker existsHE set me free>> somebody set me freepresuppositionpresuppositiontrigger
6 Some trigger terminology exampleterminologythe king of Francedefinite descriptionsto know(epistemic) factivesto regret(emotive) factivesto stopaspectual predicatesagainiterativesto manageimplicative predicatesafter...temporal clausesIt was ... whocleft sentencesbachelorspecial restricted predicateseveryquantifiersJulius SeidenstickernamesHEintonation
7 ExercisesWhat presuppositions do the following constructions give rise to?-> List them, indicate what the presupposition trigger is and try to categorize the trigger in one of the categories we have established.-> You can leave aside the presuppositions triggered by proper names.exercise 1, p.91: (i)-(x)
8 ExercisesThe burglar realized that he had been filmed on closed circuit television.>> there was a burglarthe burglardefinite description>> the burglar had been filmed on CCTVrealizedepistemic factiveJohn forgot to do the washing up.>> there were things to be washed upthe washing updefinite description>> John intended to / had to do the washing upforgotimplicative predicate
9 Exercises John hasn’t driven a car since he had the accident. >> there was an accidentthe accidentdefinite description>> J had the accidentsince...temporal clause>> J drove a car before the accidentis this a presupposition or an implicature?“stop”“maxim of quantity”
10 ExercisesProfessor Huang was glad that he had solved one of evolution’s great mysteries.>> Professor Huang solved one of evolution’s great mysteries.was glademotive factive>> evolution has mysteriesone ofquantifierJohn isn’t off cigarettes again. (=He’s smoking again.)>> John quit non-smoking before.againiterative
11 Exercises It wasn’t John who moved to Spain. >> someone moved to Spainit was... whocleft sentenceSusan discovered that her husband was having an affair.>> Susan has a husbandher husbanddefinite description>> her husband was having an affairdiscoveredepistemic factiveMary started emptying the shopping bags.>> there were shopping bagsthe sh. bagsdefinite description>> Mary wasn’t emptying them beforestartaspectual predicates
12 Exercises It’s odd that John doesn’t know how to telnet. “Telnet is a network protocol used on the Internet or local area networks to provide a bidirectional interactive text-oriented communications facility using a virtual terminal connection.”>> John doesn’t know how to telnetit’s odd thatemotive factiveJane never remarried.>> Jane was married beforeremarriedimplicative predicate
13 From facts to theory > We have identified a phenomenon > We have tentatively called it presupposition> We have located (some of the) linguistic triggers for it.Next step:Define what we have found...
15 A semantic definitionOne sentence presupposes another iff whenever the first sentence is true, the second is true, and whenever the negation of the first sentence is true, the second sentence is true.(based on Strawson 1950)The king of France is bald. There is a king of FranceThe king of France isn’t bald. There is a king of FranceThe king of France is bald / The king of France isn’t bald presuppose that there is a king of France.
16 Probing the definition: a thought experiment Preliminary: There is a king of FranceCan There is a king of France be false?YES!Propositions can be true or false, even if they are presupposed.
17 For pq to hold and for q to be false, p has to be false as well. Probing the definition: a thought experimentPreliminary: the truth table of logical entailmentIf the weather is nice tomorrow, we’ll cancel class.pqppqqfalsetruefalsefalsetruetruetruefalsefalsetruetruetrueFor pq to hold and for q to be false, p has to be false as well.
18 Probing the definition: a thought experiment Reformulation in symbolsp >> q iffp qAND~p qCan q be false?NO!If p q holds, q can only be false if p is false... but we know that ~p qIf ~p q holds, q can only be false if ~p is false... but we know that if ~p is false p holds and that p q
19 Probing the definition: a thought experiment Conclusionon the definition of presuppositions we have now only propositions that are necessarily true can be presupposedProblema proposition like There is a king of France can be true or false
20 Probing the definition: a thought experiment SummaryWe have shown that the definition of presuppositions we started out with predicts that only propositions that are necessarily true can be presupposed. This runs counter to our intuitions for standard cases like the presupposition There is a king of France for The king of France is bald.How to solve this problem?Up till now we have assumed that propositions can only be true or false. We can bypass the problem by assuming that propositions cannot only be true and false but also undefined.Crucially, p and ~p should become undefined if q turns out to be false.
21 Probing the definition: the role of negation One sentence presupposes another iff whenever the first sentence is true, the second is true, and whenever the negation of the first sentence is true, the second sentence is true.Problem 1Some sentences are hard to negate...Long live the king of France!*Don’t long live the king of France!Bring the digital camera here.Don’t bring the digital camera here.Fred kissed Betty too.??Fred didn’t kiss Betty too.
22 Probing the definition: the role of negation Problem 2Sometimes presuppositions don’t behave in the way we would expect them too.The king of France is bald...# ...there ISN’T any king of France.The king of France isn’t bald......there ISN’T any king of France.Examples like these are highly problematic for a semantic analysis of presupposition: they can only be accounted for under the assumption that there are two kinds of negation – one that cancels presuppositions and one that doesn’t. This assumption is highly unattractive.
23 A semantic definition: conclusion > We have seen that – in order to be tenable – the definition has to allow for propositions to be not only true and false but also undefined.> We have seen that using negation as a defining criterion might be too restrictive: we would miss out on fairly straightforward cases of presuppositions.> We have seen that negation is ambiguous between a presupposition preserving and a presupposition cancelling interpretation. This is highly unattractive, especially given that negation is at the heart of the definition.
25 A pragmatic definition A presupposition associated with a sentence is a condition that a speaker would normally expect to hold in the common ground between discourse participants when that sentence is uttered.
26 A pragmatic definition A presupposition associated with a sentence is a condition that a speaker would normally expect to hold in the common ground between discourse participants when that sentence is uttered.> If there is any reason to assume that the condition doesn’t hold, the presupposition is cancelled.> Position most famously defended by Gazdar (1979).
27 Cancelling presuppositions: the procedure > The cancellation procedure:All presuppositions start life as potential presuppositions.Implicatures and entailments as well as background assumptions and contextual factors defeat potential presuppositions, so a hearer adds to his or her commitments only those presuppositions that are compatible with all background assumptions, contextual factors and all implicatures and entailments. All remaining potential presuppositions are cancelled.
28 Cancelling presuppositions: examples John hasn’t discovered that Angola is in Asia.>> Angola is in Asiadiscoveredepistemic factiveThe potential presupposition that Angola is an Asian country runs agains our real-world knowledge that Angola is an African country. This is why this potential presupposition gets cancelled.
29 Cancelling presuppositions: examples John: I don’t have a carMary: So at least you don’t need to worry about where to park your car.>> John has a car.yourdefinite descriptionThe potential presupposition that John has a car is in contradiction to the assertion that has already been put in the context. This is why this potential presupposition doesn’t become a real one.
30 Cancelling presuppositions: examples John doesn’t know that Mary is a hay fever sufferer: she isn’t.>> M is a hay fever suffererknowepistemic factiveThe potential presupposition that Mary is a hay fever sufferer runs against the entailment that Mary is not a hay fever sufferer and gets cancelled for this reason.
31 Cancelling presuppositions: examples If I realize later that I haven’t told the truth, I will confess it to everyone.>> I haven’t told the truthrealizeepistemic factiveThis sentence has a conversational implicature according to which the speaker doesn’t know whether he has told the truth or not. This implicature is incompatible with the potential presupposition that he hasn’t told the truth. The latter therefore gets cancelled.
32 Cancelling presuppositions: exercises What potential presuppositions do the following constructions give rise to?-> List them, indicate what the presupposition trigger is and try to categorize the trigger in one of the categories we have established.-> Why are these presuppositions cancelled? Explain in your own words.exercise 4, p.92