**Schlenker, Philippe. 2006. "Be Articulate: A Pragmatic Theory
of Presupposition Projection"**. To appear in *Theoretical Linguistics. *

[Full
paper in pdf]

*Abstract:* In the 1980s, the analysis of presupposition projection
contributed to a ‘dynamic turn’ in semantics: the classical notion of meanings
as truth conditions was replaced with a dynamic notion of meanings as Context
Change Potentials (Heim 1983). We argue that this move was misguided, and
we offer an alternative in which presupposition projection follows from the
combination of a fully classical semantics and a new pragmatic principle,
which we call *Be Articulate*. This principle requires that a meaning
__p__p’ conceptualized as involving a pre-condition *p*
(its ‘presupposition’) should be articulated as * … (p and *__p__p’)
… (e.g. *… it is raining and John knows it…*) rather than as
*… *__p__p’ …, *unless* the full conjunction is ruled out because
the first or the second conjunct is semantically idle. In particular, *
... (p and *__p__p’)... is infelicitous - and hence *… *__p__p’
… is acceptable - if one can determine as soon as* p and* is
uttered that no matter how the sentence ends these words could be eliminated
without affecting its contextual meaning. An equivalence theorem guarantees
that this condition suffices to derive Heim’s results in almost all cases.
Extensions of the condition lead to several new predictions, in particular
concerning some ‘symmetric readings’ (e.g.* If the bathroom is not hidden,
this house has no bathroom*), as well as presupposition projection in quantified
structures, which displays a complex interaction between the nature of the
trigger and the monotonicity of the quantifier.