Presuppositions, implicatures, and contextual equivalence. Marty, P. & Romoli, J. Natural Language Semantics, 2021.
Presuppositions, implicatures, and contextual equivalence [pdf]Paper  abstract   bibtex   13 downloads  
Classical versions of Maximize Presupposition! (MP) posit a competition between contextually equivalent sentences that dier in regard of the logical strength of their presuppositions. Yet recent work has unveiled novel MP-like cases which fall beyond the empirical scope of MP precisely because the relevant competitors are not contextually equivalent to their base sentence. To account for these cases, Spector & Sudo (2017) propose a novel principle, the Presupposed Ignorance Principle (PIP), whose formulation parallels that of MP but leaves out the former condition on contextual equivalence. This amendment of MP allows the PIP to capture the novel cases while preserving the classical ones. In this paper, we show that the PIP, however, overgenerates and undergenerates in a variety of other examples, and we argue that the main culprit is precisely dropping the condition on contextual equivalence. We discuss two directions moving forward. The rst is the Logical Integrity approach by Anvari 2019, 2018, which, among other things, replaces contextual equivalence with contextual entailment. As we discuss, this approach cannot account for our problematic cases either, and thus doesn't fare much better than Spector & Sudo (2017) in that respect. The second is the implicature-based approach by Marty & Romoli 2019, which combines insights from Magri 2009, Marty 2017, 2019b and Meyer 2013 and which subsume the conditions on contextual equivalence and presupposition satisfaction from MP under the broader notion of relevance. This approach can account for the cases by Spector & Sudo (2017) as well as for some of our novel cases, yet not all of them. We conclude that the issue of how to properly restrict the competition for MP-like cases, accounting for the classical cases, those of Spector & Sudo (2017) and the novel ones we present here, remains an important challenge for all accounts in the literature.

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