, Volume 112, Issue 3, pp 251-278

Presupposition and Accommodation: Understanding the Stalnakerian Picture

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Abstract

This paper offers a critical analysis ofStalnaker's work on presupposition (Stalnaker1973, 1974, 1979, 1999, 2002). The paperexamines two definitions of speakerpresupposition offered by Stalnaker – the familiar common ground view, and the earlier,less familiar, dispositional account – and howStalnaker relates this notion to the linguisticphenomenon of presupposition. Special attentionis paid to Stalnaker's view of accommodation. Iargue that given Stalnaker’s views,accommodation is not rightly seen as driven bythe presuppositional requirements ofutterances, but only by the interests ofspeakers in eliminating perceived differencesamong presuppositions. I also consider therevisions which are needed either to thedefinition of speaker presupposition or to thedefinition of sentence presupposition in lightof the possibility of informativepresupposition. In the concluding section, Idiscuss the ways in which some recent accountsof context and speaker presupposition departfrom their Stalnakerian foundations.