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Presupposition and Assertion in Dynamic
  Semantics cover

Presupposition and Assertion in Dynamic Semantics

David I. Beaver

This book presents a comprehensive overview and discussion of the burgeoning field of presupposition theory, introducing a wealth of new data and critical commentary. Working within the recently developed framework of Dynamic Semantics, the author develops his own account of presupposition and solves some well-known problems of other accounts. According to the view developed, while semantics is concerned with information update, there is one part of the meaning of an utterance which requires no update: the utterance's presupposition.

Although this book assumes general understanding of pragmatics and semantics, the reader needs no prior familiarity with presupposition theory or recent dynamic approaches to the study of meaning.

Praise for Presupposition and Assertion in Dynamic Semantics

“This book is an excellent up-to-date introduction to the study of presupposition and presupposition projection. Technically sophisticated, Beaver's work does justice to the empirical and conceptual complexities of its subject matter, along with presenting many original ideas. If you suspect that presupposition was exhausted by the work of linguists and philosophers in the 1970s, this book shows why the topic has become fresh and exciting again.”
—Irene Heim
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

“This book provides an excellent overview of the issues and controversies of the field. The dynamic semantics developed in the second half of the book follows the direction charted by Karttunen and Heim in their early work, and gives an elegant solution to many problems that have plagued previous theories. Many books about presupposition have been written. This is the book to read.”
—Lauri Karttunen
Xerox Palo Alto Research Center

“This book does two things, and it does both of them very well indeed. Its first part gives an ‘histoire raisonnnee’ of the theory of presupposition from Frege up to the recent dynamic approaches of Heim and Van Der Sandt. I consider this remarkably concise, lucid and cogent review of presupposition theory an ideal and much needed introduction for any linguist, computational linguist,logician or philosopher who wants to learn about the subject. In the second part Beaver presents his own contributions to presupposition theory. These contributions are a sine qua non for anyone with an active interest in this domain.”
—Professor Hans Kamp
IMS, University of Stuttgart

David I. Beaver is a faculty member in the Department of Linguistics at Stanford University, and currentyl a Fellow at the Stanford Humanities Center.


  • Preface
  • Part I The Presupposition: A Critical Survey of Presupposition Theory

  • Overview of Part I
  • 1 Presuppositions and How to Spot Them
  • 2 Multivalence and Partiality
  • 3 Cancellation and Filtering
  • 4 Dynamic Semantics
  • 5 Accommodation
  • Part II The Assertion: What Comes First in Dynamic Semantics

  • Overview of Part II
  • 6 Two Birds in One Stone
  • 7 A Bit Like English
  • 8 Presupposition and Modality in ABLE
  • 9 Leat's Get Real!
  • 10 Connections and Directions
  • 11 Conclusion
  • A Properties of ABLE
  • References
  • Index


ISBN (Paperback): 1575861208 (9781575861203)
ISBN (Cloth): 1575861216 (9781575861210)
ISBN (Electronic): 157586908X (9781575869087)

Subject: Presupposition (Logic); Semantics

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