Seminar Series in Analytic Philosophy 2020-21, Session 19

On Proper Presupposition
Julia Zakkou (Bielefeld University)

09 April 2021, 16:00 (Lisbon Time – GMT+1) | Online, via Zoom

Abstract: In this talk, I investigate the norm of presupposition, as one pervasive type of indirect speech act. I argue against the view that sees presuppositions as an indirect counterpart of the direct speech act of assertion and propose instead to consider them an indirect counterpart of the direct speech act of assumption. More concretely, I suggest that the norm that governs presuppositions is not an epistemic or doxastic attitude such as knowledge, justified belief, or mere belief; it’s a practical attitude, most plausibly the attitude of rational acceptance. This view has important ramifications well beyond debates in philosophy of language and linguistics. It affects not only our view of which speech act sequences are fine and which are off; it bears on whether presuppositions can function as testimony, whether they can be lies, and whether they are ontologically committal.

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