Garant - François Recanati (Collège de France, EHESS, IJN)
Jury - Regine Eckardt (U. Konstanz)
Orin Percus (U. Nantes)
Anne Reboul (CNRS)
Benjamin Spector (IJN)
Judith Tonhauser (U. Stuttgart)
Daniel Altshuler (U. Oxford)
We do not live in a void. External information from the world is constantly perceived and processed by the senses. In order to facilitate this process, our cognition relies on a number of background assumptions and predictions based on previous experience. One of the most interesting linguistic aspects of this fact is the phenomenon of presupposition. Almost anything we say presupposes a number of things ; this is why presuppositions have been of interest to linguists for the last 50 years.
Traditional linguistic approaches to presupposition were mostly concerned with the interaction of presuppositions with various logical connectives and other embedding contexts, the so-called projection problem. Recent developments in linguistics have started to link the analysis of presuppositions to general processes of cognition and reasoning, such as attention, probabilistic reasoning, theory of mind, and information structure.
After reviewing the main approaches and issues surrounding presuppositions, I turn to a number of outstanding questions : Why do presuppositions arise to begin with ? What is their relationship to perspective taking ? What is the role of discourse structure and lexical semantics ? How does lexical meaning shift in context ? I address these questions by using theoretical and experimental methods, as well as tools from computational semantics.