Summary: Note that the moment of interpretation is not the same as the moment of utterance. For1
details, see Stalnaker 1999, 2002, von Fintel 2000. It should be added that there are multiple
versions of the common ground view which differ in their details: compare, for example, the
works just cited, and the views of Lewis 1979, Heim 1983, 1992, Thomason 1990.
Presupposition and Cooperation
Carnegie Mellon University
Since linguists began extensive work on presupposition in the 1970's, a long and heterogeneous list
has been compiled of expressions, expression types and constructions that give rise to
presuppositions. In the current literature, the principal (but by no means sole) diagnostic for
presupposition typically appealed to is the tendency of the particular element of meaning to project,
i.e. to escape the scope of operators such as negation, the question operator, or modals. An important
intuition also routinely appealed to is that the element of meaning is in some sense backgrounded,
or treated by the speaker as taken for granted.
There seems little doubt that there are interesting and theoretically relevant distinctions to be
madebetweendifferenttypesof presuppositions withinthis heterogeneous set.But thestudyofthese
distinctions is of interest primarily in light of the intuition that the members of this set share some