Formal Aspects of Computing

, Volume 6, Supplement 1, pp 766–787

Presupposition failure — A comedy of errors


DOI: 10.1007/BF01213602

Cite this article as:
van Eijck, J. Formal Aspects of Computing (1994) 6(Suppl 1): 766. doi:10.1007/BF01213602


Presuppositions of utterances are the pieces of information you convey with an utterance no matter whether your utterance is true or not. We first study presupposition in a very simple framework of updating propositional information, with examples of how presuppositions of complex propositional updates can be calculated. Next we move on to presuppositions and quantification, in the context of a dynamic version of predicate logic, suitably modified to allow for presupposition failure. In both the propositional and the quantificational case, presupposition failure can be viewed as error abortion of procedures. Thus, a dynamic assertion logic which describes the preconditions for error abortion is the suitable tool for analysing presupposition.


Semantics of natural language Presupposition Update logic Dynamic logic 

Copyright information

© British Computer Society 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CWIAB AmsterdamNetherlands
  2. 2.Onderzoeksinstituut voor Taal en Spraak (OTS)UtrechtThe Netherlands

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