Presupposition triggers and presumptive interpretation

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Pragmatic presuppositions are analyzed considering their relation with the notion of commitment, namely the dialogical acceptance of a proposition by an interlocutor. The attribution of commitments carried out by means of pragmatic presupposition is shown to depend on the reasonableness of the underlying presumptive reasoning, ultimately grounded on hierarchies of presumptions. On this perspective, the ordinary interpretation of pragmatic presuppositions as the “taking for granted” of propositions signaled by semantic or syntactic triggers becomes only the presumptive, prototypical interpretation of a complex linguistic and pragmatic phenomenon. It will be shown how the prototypical interpretation is subject to default in cases of conflicts of presumptions, which lead to reconstructing the speaker’s meaning non-presumptively at a pragmatic, semantic, or syntactic level. The phenomena of presupposition cancellation and neutralization can be explained in terms of presumptive and non-presumptive articulation and interpretation of an utterance, through which the speaker can impose, correct, or refuse implicit commitments.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFurther Advances in Pragmatics and Philosophy
Subtitle of host publicationTheories and Applications
EditorsAlessandro Capone, Marco Carapezza, Franco Lo Piparo
Place of PublicationCham
Number of pages25
ISBN (Print)978-3319010106
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Publication series

NamePerspectives in Pragmatics, Philosophy and Psychology
ISSN (Print)2214-3807
ISSN (Electronic)2214-3815


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