Presuppositional Anaphora Is the Sobel Truth

  • Daniel Dhorn
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Pragmatics, Language and Cognition book series (PSPLC)


Sobel sequences have had a huge impact on the discussion of counterfactuals. They can be composed of conditionals and mere descriptions. What is especially puzzling about them is that they are often felicitously uttered when their reversal is not. Up to now, there is no unified explanation. The author examines two strategies. We might begin with conditionals and proceed to descriptions. Or we might begin with descriptions and proceed to conditionals. The author argues for the latter variant and outlines a universal theory of Sobel sequences in terms of presuppositional anaphora. One relevant result is that the phenomenon neither counts against nor in favor of the simplified standard account of counterfactuals à la Stalnaker-Lewis.


Sobel sequence Counterfactual Conditional Incomplete description Anaphora 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Philosophie Humboldt-Universität zuBerlinGermany

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