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Students can prepare for this workshop by attending the courses taught by Nathan Klinedinst and Daniel Rothschild, and by Philippe Schlenker (in particular his last lecture Friday September 19th entitled The Current Debate

The Workshop will take place Saturday September the 20th in the afternoon at the ENS (Salle des Résistants, as all the Ealing lectures).


2:00 LaCasse: Restrictions on the space of Context Change Potentials
2:45 Rothschild: A Less Stipulative Dynamic Semantics
3:45 Chemla: Presuppositions from alternatives: getting the fine-grained picture
4:30 Abrusan: On the triggering problem


Nick LaCasse (UCLA)

Restrictions on the space of Context Change Potentials
Dynamic semantics lacks explanatory power. For any classical operator, it is possible to construct many dynamic operators which agree on the non-presuppositional cases but diverge on the presuppositional cases. However, only a few dynamic operators appear in natural language, and their bivalent meanings and presupposition projection properties seem to be constant across languages.
I solve this problem by restricting the space of dynamic operators with some simple and intuitive constraints on the space of sentential operators and quantifiers. The constraints I posit make very strong predictions about the space of natural language operators:
- They predict only a small list of possible propositional connective meanings, including all propositional English connectives.
- They predict conservativity and universal presupposition projection from both the restrictor and nuclear scope of a quantifier.
These predictions make the constraints an effective solution to the over-generation problem of dynamic semantics.

Daniel Rothschild (Columbia University)

A Less Stipulative Dynamic Semantics
Abstract: Heim's classic paper "On the Projection Problem for Presuppositions" (1983) proposed a replacement of truth-conditional semantics with a dynamic semantics that treats meanings as instructions to update the common ground. Heim's system predicts the basic pattern of presupposition projection quite accurately. The classic objection to this program (including other versions of dynamic semantics) is that the treatment of binary connectives is stipulative, and other, equally natural treatments fail to make the right predictions about presupposition projection. I give a variation on Heim's system that is designed to escape this objection.

Emmanuel Chemla (IJN and LSCP, ENS)

Presuppositions from alternatives: getting the fine-grained picture
Abstract: I present a system for presupposition projection which relies on alternatives for presuppositional material. I will discuss the following properties of this system. First, it is predictive (see Rothschild's talk). Second, this theory is an extension of a theory of scalar implicatures (including free choice inferences). Consequently, the triggering problem (see Abrusan's talk) becomes comparable to the symmetry problem with usual scales. Besides, this prompts the question of the status of presuppositions, what is it (common belief?) and how does it come about (pre- or post-suppositions?). Third, this theory predicts different presuppositions for quantified sentences with different quantifiers (e.g., none vs. numerical quantifiers), as is now supported by experimental data.

Marta Abrusan (IJN, ENS)

On the triggering problem
Abstract: It is argued that the truth value of atomic sentences has to depend on the properties of their arguments, in other words the atomic sentence has to be about its arguments. Concentrating on verbal presupposition triggers, I argue that those entailments, which, if they were to be false, could prevent the atomic sentence to be about its arguments, are turned into presuppositions.

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