Schlenker, Philippe. 2010. "DRT with Local Contexts" (draft)

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Abstract:   Building on the theory of local contexts of Schlenker 2009, we reconstruct some results of the analysis of presupposition projection offered by DRT (van der Sandt 1992, Geurts 1999). The theory of Schlenker 2009 offered a way to annotate every sentence with context variables that denote the various local context sets that play a crucial role in Heim’s satisfaction theory (Heim 1983). In the latter, a presupposition must be entailed by its local context. Here we allow a presupposition to be indexed with other local contexts, and we propose – following  van der Sandt 1992 and Zeevat 1992 – that presuppositions are preferably anaphoric to the highest possible context. The resulting analysis emulates some desirable resoluts of DRT – notably its solution to the ‘Proviso Problem’ (Geurts 1999). But it arguably improves on DRT in some respects: it can in some cases generate genuine conditional presuppositions; and it yields more adequate results for quantified examples. Several limitations of the theory – some of them quite serious – are also discussed.