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Philosophy Semantics of Language H.W.2

Philosophy Semantics of Language H.W.2 - 1 Stalnaker...

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1. Stalnaker distinguishes a semantic approach to presupposition and a pragmatic approach. What are the major differences between these two approaches? The semantic approach to presupposition treats presuppositions of a proposition as being true or false relative to the truth or falsity of the content asserted in the proposition. The pragmatic approach to presuppositions treats presuppositions as being relative to the context of the content asserted in a proposition. The major difference between these 2 approaches is that the semantic approach treats a presupposition as being dependent on the truth of the content which it asserts, where the pragmatic approach treats a presupposition as being determined not by the truth or falsity of its content but by the intentions and other presupposed factors which the proposition represents. Thus, presuppositions in the semantic approach are determined by truth and content, and in the pragmatic approach are determined by context. So if I say the proposition “the sky is red” and the sky is currently blue, then the semantic approach treats the presupposition that I am talking about the current color of the sky as false. This differs from the pragmatic approach which would instead change the presupposition of that sentence to a presupposition such as that I am referring to the sky during sunset. The semantics approach treats the conversations and its presuppositions as being either true or false, where the pragmatics approach treats the conversation and its presuppositions ad being true or false relative to what part of the evolutionary process that conversation is in.
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