In Defense of a Strawsonian Approach to Presupposition

  • Östen Dahl
Part of the Synthese Language Library book series (SLAP, volume 13)


The ‘Fregean’ view of presupposition, and presuppositional failure, according to which there is a logical relation between sentences (or statements) such that if p presupposes q, p has no truth value (or the truth value ‘zero’) whenever q is not true, has, after enjoying a widespread popularity among linguists, been subjected to attacks from several scholars, most notably Allwood 1972, Wilson 1972, 1975, Kempson 1975. In these works, a more orthodox two-valued logic is defended.


Definite Description False Statement Negative Sentence Ordinary Usage Natural Language Sentence 
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  1. Allwood, J.: 1972, ‘Negation and the strength of presuppositions or There is more to speaking than words,’ Logical Grammar Reports 2. (Revised version in Dahl, Ö. (eds.), Logic, Pragmatics, and Grammar, 1975, Dept. of Linguistics, Univ. of Göteborg. )Google Scholar
  2. Dahl, Ö.: 1974, ‘Topic-comment structure revisited,’ in Dahl, Ö., (ed.), Topic and Comment, Contextual Boundness and Focus, Hamburg: Helmut Buske.Google Scholar
  3. Kempson, R.: 1975, Presupposition and The Delimitation of Semantics, Cambridge: Univ. Press.Google Scholar
  4. Russell, B.: 1957, ‘Mr. Strawson on referring,” Mind 66, 385–389.Google Scholar
  5. Strawson. P.: 1950, ‘On referring,’ Mind 59, 320–344.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Strawson, P.: 1964, ‘Identifying reference and truth values,’ Theoria 30, 96–118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Wilson, D.: 1975, Presupposition and Non-Truth-Conditional Semantics, London: Academic Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Östen Dahl

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