Linguistics and Philosophy

, Volume 40, Issue 5, pp 473–517 | Cite as

Presupposed ignorance and exhaustification: how scalar implicatures and presuppositions interact

  • Benjamin Spector
  • Yasutada SudoEmail author
Open Access


We investigate the interactions between scalar implicatures and presuppositions in sentences containing both a scalar item and presupposition trigger. We first critically discuss Gajewski and Sharvit’s previous approach. We then closely examine two ways of integrating an exhaustivity-based theory of scalar implicatures with a trivalent approach to presuppositions. The empirical side of our discussion focuses on two novel observations: (i) the interactions between prosody and monotonicity, and (ii) what we call presupposed ignorance. In order to account for these observations, our final proposal relies on two mechanisms of scalar strengthening, the Presupposed Ignorance Principle and an exhaustivity operator which lets the presuppositions of negated alternatives project.


Scalar implicature Presupposition Exhaustification Presupposed ignorance 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Département d’études cognitives, Institut Jean Nicod (CNRS-ENS-EHESS)Ecole Normale Supérieure - PSL Research UniversityParisFrance
  2. 2.University College LondonLondonUK

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