A note on the architecture of presupposition

Matthew Mandelkern


The Proviso Problem is the discrepancy between the predictions of nearly every major theory of semantic presupposition about what is semantically presupposed by conditionals, disjunctions, and conjunctions, versus observations about what speakers of certain sentences are felt to be presupposing. I argue that the Proviso Problem is a more serious problem than has been widely recognized. After briefly describing the problem and two standard responses to it, I give a number of examples which, I argue, show that those responses are inadequate. I conclude by briefly exploring alternate approaches to presupposition that avoid this problem.



proviso problem; presupposition; presupposition projection; accommodation; pragmatic strengthening; independence

Full Text:


DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3765/sp.9.13

License URL: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

ISSN: 1937-8912

Journal doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.3765/sp