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Presupposition as Argumentative Reasoning

Part of the Perspectives in Pragmatics, Philosophy & Psychology book series (PEPRPHPS,volume 4)

Abstract

Presuppositions are pragmatically considered as the conditions of the felicity of a speech act, or discourse move; however, the decision of setting the conditions of a move, which the hearer needs to accept in order to continue the dialogue, can be thought of as a speech act of a kind. The act of presupposing depends on specific conditions and in particular on the possibility of the hearer to reconstruct and accept the propositional content. These pragmatic conditions lead to epistemic considerations: How can the speaker know that the hearer can reconstruct and accept a presupposition? A possible answer can be found in an argumentative approach grounded on the notion of presumptive reasoning. On this perspective, by presupposing the speaker advances a tentative conclusion about what the hearer may accept, hold, or know proceeding from factual, linguistic, and epistemic rules of presumption.

Keywords

  • Presupposition
  • Implicatures
  • Argumentation theory
  • Pragmatics

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Notes

  1. 1.

    On Ducrot’s view, the communicative game resembles a chess game, in which the possibilities are set by means of presuppositions: “dans ce combat simulé –qui substitue aux possibilités réelles, dues à la force, les possibilités morales dues aux conventions—les règles permettent aux joueurs de se contraindre mutuellement à certaines actions, et de s’en interdire certaines autres” (Ducrot 1968, p. 83); “pour trouver une description sémantique satisfaisante d’un phénomène comme la présupposition, phénomène qui est repérable selon des critères syntaxiques précis, il nous a été nécessaire de la relier aux règles qui définissent conventionnellement le jeu du langage, et de décrire la présupposition par rapport aux manœuvres dont elle fournit le thème : sa réalité, comme celle d’une règle des échecs, consiste seulement à rendre possible un jeu” (Ducrot 1972b, p. 27).

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Macagno, F. (2016). Presupposition as Argumentative Reasoning. In: Capone, A., Mey, J. (eds) Interdisciplinary Studies in Pragmatics, Culture and Society. Perspectives in Pragmatics, Philosophy & Psychology, vol 4. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-12616-6_18

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-12616-6_18

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