Advertisement

On Conceivability and Existence in Linguistic Interpretation

  • Salvatore Pistoia-Reda
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10257)

Abstract

This paper discusses the role of existence presuppositions and conceivability in linguistic interpretation. In particular, it is discussed evidence that the non-emptiness requirement on universally-quantified propositions might be satisfied through access to a background of knowledge concerning what might be the case in the actual world, as opposed to a background of knowledge concerning what is actually the case. The evidence discussed comes from empirical observations on the behavior of the scalar implicature mechanism. The crucial piece evidence amounts to the fact that the entailment pattern with existentially-quantified propositions, which is crucial to generate the desired inference, is established when quantifiers range over non-existing but conceivable entities, but it cannot be established when quantifiers range over non-exiting and inconceivable entities.

Keywords

Existence presupposition Entailment Implicatures Conceivability 

References

  1. 1.
    Chierchia, G.: Broaden your views: implicatures of domain widening and the ‘logicality’ of language. Linguist. Inq. 37(4), 535–590 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Chierchia, G., Fox, D., Spector, B.: Scalar implicature as a grammatical phenomenon. In: Maienborn, C., von Heusinger, K., Portner, P. (eds.) Semantics: An International Handbook of Natural Language Meaning, vol. 3, pp. 2297–2331. Mouton de Gruyter, Berlin (2012)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Fox, D.: Free choice and the theory of scalar implicatures. In: Sauerland, U., Stateva, P. (eds.) Presuppositions and Implicatures in Compositional Semantics. Palgrave Studies in Pragmatics, Language and Cognition. Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke (2007)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Geurts, B.: Quantity Implicatures. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Heim, I.: On the projection problem for presuppositions. In: Barlow, M., Flickinger, D.P., Westcoat, M.T. (eds.) Proceedings of the West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics, pp. 249–260. Stanford Linguistic Association, Stanford University (1983)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Hirschberg, J.L.B.: A Theory of Scalar Implicature. University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia (1985)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Horn, L.: A Natural History of Negation. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago (1989)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Kratzer, A.: What ‘must’ and ‘can’ must and can mean. Linguist. Philos. 1(3), 337–355 (1977)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Lappin, S., Reinhart, T.: Presuppositional effects of strong determiners: a processing account. Linguistics 26(6), 1021–1038 (1988)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Magri, G.: A theory of individual-level predicates based on blind mandatory scalar implicatures. Nat. Lang. Semant. 17(3), 245–297 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Magri, G.: Another argument for embedded scalar implicatures based on oddness in downward entailing environments. Semant. Pragmat. 4, 1–51 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Magri, G.: Two puzzles raised by oddness in conjunction. J. Semant. 33(1), 1–17 (2016)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    McCall, S.: Connexive implication and the syllogism. Mind 76(303), 346–356 (1967)MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Pistoia-Reda, S.: Contextual blindness in implicature computation. Nat. Lang. Semant. (2017). doi: 10.1007/s11050-016-9131-6
  15. 15.
    Sauerland, U.: Implicated presuppositions. In: Steube, A. (ed.) The Discourse Potential of Underspecified Structures. Language, Context and Cognition, vol. 8, pp. 581–600 (2008)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Schlenker, P.: Maximize presupposition and Gricean reasoning. Nat. Lang. Semant. 20(4), 391–429 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Stalnaker, R.: Assertion. In: Cole, P. (ed.) Pragmatics, pp. 315–332. Academic Press, New York (1978)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Stalnaker, R.: Common ground. Linguist. Philos. 25(5), 701–721 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Strawson, P.F.: Identifying reference and truth-values. Theoria 30(2), 96–118 (1964)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Von Fintel, K.: NPI licensing, Strawson entailment, and context dependency. J. Semant. 16(2), 97–148 (1999)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Von Fintel, K.: Counterfactuals in a dynamic context. Curr. Stud. Linguist. Ser. 36, 123–152 (2001)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Leibniz-Zentrum Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft (ZAS)BerlinGermany

Personalised recommendations