Anti-Dynamics, Presupposition Projection Without Dynamic Semantics

Anti-Dynamics, Presupposition Projection Without Dynamic Semantics

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Unformatted text preview: J Logic Lang Info (2007) 16:325–356 DOI 10.1007/s10849-006-9034-x ORIGINAL ARTICLE Anti-dynamics: presupposition projection without dynamic semantics Philippe Schlenker Received: 2 October 2006 / Accepted: 27 November 2006 / Published online: 8 February 2007 ©Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007 Abstract Heim 1983 suggested that the analysis of presupposition projection re- quires that the classical notion of meanings as truth conditions be replaced with a dynamic notion of meanings as Context Change Potentials . But as several researchers (including Heim herself) later noted, the dynamic framework is insufficiently predic- tive: although it allows one to state that, say, the dynamic effect of F and G is to first update a Context Set C with F and then with G (i.e., C[F and G] = C[F][G]), it fails to explain why there couldn’t be a ‘deviant’ conjunction and* which performed these operations in the opposite order (i.e., C[F and* G] = C[G][F]). We provide a formal introduction to a competing framework, the Transparency theory, which addresses this problem. Unlike dynamic semantics, our analysis is fully classical , i.e., bivalent and static. And it derives the projective behavior of connectives from their bivalent meaning and their syntax. We concentrate on the formal properties of a simple version of the theory, and we prove that (i) full equivalence with Heim’s results is guaranteed in the propositional case ( Theorem 1 ), and that (ii) the equivalence can be extended to the quantificational case (for any generalized quantifiers), but only when certain conditions are met ( Theorem 2 ). Keywords Presupposition · Dynamic semantics · Trivalence · Presupposition projection 1 The projection problem and the dynamic dilemma 1.1 The projection problem Howarethepresuppositionsofcomplexsentencescomputedfromthemeaningsoftheir component parts? This is the so-called ‘Projection Problem,’ which is illustrated in (1): P. Schlenker ( B ) UCLA, Los Angeles, USA P. Schlenker Institut Jean-Nicod, Paris, France 326 Philippe Schlenker (1) a. The king of Moldavia is powerful. b. Moldavia is a monarchy and the king of Moldavia is powerful. c. If Moldavia is a monarchy, the king of Moldavia is powerful. (1)a presupposes (incorrectly) that Moldavia has a king. But the examples in (1)b–c presuppose no such thing; they only presuppose that if Moldavia is a monarchy, it has a king (a condition which is satisfied if one knows that Moldavia is in Eastern Europe and that Eastern-European monarchies are of the French type, i.e., that if they have a monarch, it is a king, not a queen). How can these facts be explained? Minimally, a theory of presupposition projection should be descriptively adequate and thus provide an algorithm to compute the presuppositions of complex sentences....
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This note was uploaded on 03/01/2008 for the course PHL 332 taught by Professor Dever during the Fall '07 term at University of Texas.

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Anti-Dynamics, Presupposition Projection Without Dynamic Semantics

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