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Non-catastrophic presupposition failure

In Judith Jarvis Thomson & Alex Byrne (eds.), Content and Modality: Themes From the Philosophy of Robert Stalnaker. Oxford University Press (2006)

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  1. Towards a Fictionalist Philosophy of Mathematics.Robert Knowles - unknown
    In this thesis, I aim to motivate a particular philosophy of mathematics characterised by the following three claims. First, mathematical sentences are generally speaking false because mathematical objects do not exist. Second, people typically use mathematical sentences to communicate content that does not imply the existence of mathematical objects. Finally, in using mathematical language in this way, speakers are not doing anything out of the ordinary: they are performing straightforward assertions. In Part I, I argue that the role played by (...)
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  • Rational Action Without Knowledge (and Vice Versa).Jie Gao - 2017 - Synthese 194 (6):1901-1917.
    It has been argued recently that knowledge is the norm of practical reasoning. This norm can be formulated as a bi-conditional: it is appropriate to treat p as a reason for acting if and only if you know that p. Other proposals replace knowledge with warranted or justified belief. This paper gives counter-examples of both directions of any such bi-conditional. To the left-to-right direction: scientists can appropriately treat as reasons for action propositions of a theory they believe to be false (...)
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  • The Pragmatics of Non-denoting Descriptions.Andrei Moldovan - 2020 - Topoi (2):413-423.
    One challenge that the proponent of the Fregean theory of definite descriptions has to meet is to account for those truth-value intuitions that do not match the predictions of her theory. What needs an explanation is why sentences such as ‘The king of France is sitting in that chair’ [pointing at an empty chair] are intuitively false, while semantically truth-valueless. The existence of such cases was pointed out by Strawson :216–231, 1954) and Russell :385–389, 1957), and much discussed in the (...)
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  • Introduction: Individual Concepts in Language and Thought.Tadeusz Ciecierski & Paweł Grabarczyk - 2020 - Topoi 39 (2):349-356.
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  • Facts, Factives, and Contrafactives.Richard Holton - 2017 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 91 (1):245-266.
    Frege begins his discussion of factives in ‘On Sense and Reference’ with an example of a purported contrafactive, that is, a verb that entails, or presupposes, the falsity of the complement sentence. But the verb he cites, ‘wähnen’, is now obsolete, and native speakers are sceptical about whether it really was a contrafactive. Despite the profusion of factive verbs, there are no clear examples of contrafactive propositional attitude verbs in English, French or German. This paper attempts to give an explanation (...)
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  • Frege’s Puzzle is About Identity After All.Elmar Unnsteinsson - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 99 (3):628-643.
    Many philosophers have argued or taken for granted that Frege's puzzle has little or nothing to do with identity statements. I show that this is wrong, arguing that the puzzle can only be motivated relative to a thinker's beliefs about the identity or distinctness of the relevant object. The result is important, as it suggests that the puzzle can be solved, not by a semantic theory of names or referring expressions as such, but simply by a theory of identity statements. (...)
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  • Knowing the Answer to a Loaded Question.Asbjørn Steglich-Petersen - 2014 - Theoria 80 (1):97-125.
    Many epistemologists have been attracted to the view that knowledge-wh can be reduced to knowledge-that. An important challenge to this, presented by Jonathan Schaffer, is the problem of “convergent knowledge”: reductive accounts imply that any two knowledge-wh ascriptions with identical true answers to the questions embedded in their wh-clauses are materially equivalent, but according to Schaffer, there are counterexamples to this equivalence. Parallel to this, Schaffer has presented a very similar argument against binary accounts of knowledge, and thereby in favour (...)
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  • Practical Language: Its Meaning and Use.Nate Charlow - 2011 - Dissertation, University of Michigan
    I demonstrate that a "speech act" theory of meaning for imperatives is—contra a dominant position in philosophy and linguistics—theoretically desirable. A speech act-theoretic account of the meaning of an imperative !φ is characterized, broadly, by the following claims. -/- LINGUISTIC MEANING AS USE !φ’s meaning is a matter of the speech act an utterance of it conventionally functions to express—what a speaker conventionally uses it to do (its conventional discourse function, CDF). -/- IMPERATIVE USE AS PRACTICAL !φ's CDF is to (...)
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  • Fictionalism.Fiora Salis - 2015 - Online Companion to Problems in Analytic Philosophy.
    In this entry I will offer a survey of the contemporary debate on fic- tionalism, which is a distinctive anti-realist view about certain regions of discourse that are valued for their usefulness rather than their truth.
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  • Homophonic Prejudices.Manuel García-Carpintero - 2008 - Critica 40 (120):67-84.
    I critically discuss some aspects of Mark Sainsbury's Reference without Referents, from an otherwise sympathetic viewpoint. My objections focus on the adequacy of the truth-conditional framework that Sainsbury presupposes. I argue that, as semantic theories, truth-conditional accounts are both too ambitious, and too austere to be fully explanatory, and that both problems have consequences for an account of reference. The latter problem has to do with the difficulties to capture in a truth-conditional framework the descriptive contribution of indexicals and, in (...)
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  • Permission and (So-Called Epistemic) Possibility.Stephen Yablo - 2010 - In Bob Hale & Aviv Hoffmann (eds.), Modality: Metaphysics, Logic, and Epistemology. Oxford University Press.
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  • Abstract Expressionism and the Communication Problem.David Liggins - 2014 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 65 (3):599-620.
    Some philosophers have recently suggested that the reason mathematics is useful in science is that it expands our expressive capacities. Of these philosophers, only Stephen Yablo has put forward a detailed account of how mathematics brings this advantage. In this article, I set out Yablo’s view and argue that it is implausible. Then, I introduce a simpler account and show it is a serious rival to Yablo’s. 1 Introduction2 Yablo’s Expressionism3 Psychological Objections to Yablo’s Expressionism4 Introducing Belief Expressionism5 Objections and (...)
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  • Knowledge and Presuppositions.Michael Blome-Tillmann - 2009 - Mind 118 (470):241 - 294.
    The paper explicates a new way to model the context-sensitivity of 'knows', namely a way that suggests a close connection between the content of 'knows' in a context C and what is pragmatically presupposed in C. After explicating my new approach in the first half of the paper and arguing that it is explanatorily superior to standard accounts of epistemic contextualism, the paper points, in its second half, to some interesting new features of the emerging account, such as its compatibility (...)
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  • Descriptions, Truth Value Intuitions, and Questions.Anders J. Schoubye - 2009 - Linguistics and Philosophy 32 (6):583-617.
    Since the famous debate between Russell (Mind 14: 479–493, 1905, Mind 66: 385–389, 1957) and Strawson (Mind 59: 320–344, 1950; Introduction to logical theory, 1952; Theoria, 30: 96–118, 1964) linguistic intuitions about truth values have been considered notoriously unreliable as a guide to the semantics of definite descriptions. As a result, most existing semantic analyses of definites leave a large number of intuitions unexplained. In this paper, I explore the nature of the relationship between truth value intuitions and non-referring definites. (...)
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  • Explanation, Extrapolation, and Existence.Stephen Yablo - 2012 - Mind 121 (484):1007-1029.
    Mark Colyvan (2010) raises two problems for ‘easy road’ nominalism about mathematical objects. The first is that a theory’s mathematical commitments may run too deep to permit the extraction of nominalistic content. Taking the math out is, or could be, like taking the hobbits out of Lord of the Rings. I agree with the ‘could be’, but not (or not yet) the ‘is’. A notion of logical subtraction is developed that supports the possibility, questioned by Colyvan, of bracketing a theory’s (...)
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  • Fundamental and Derivative Truths.J. R. G. Williams - 2010 - Mind 119 (473):103 - 141.
    This article investigates the claim that some truths are fundamentally or really true — and that other truths are not. Such a distinction can help us reconcile radically minimal metaphysical views with the verities of common sense. I develop an understanding of the distinction whereby Fundamentality is not itself a metaphysical distinction, but rather a device that must be presupposed to express metaphysical distinctions. Drawing on recent work by Rayo on anti-Quinean theories of ontological commitments, I formulate a rigourous theory (...)
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  • Inference Markers and Conventional Implicatures.María José Frápolli Sanz & Neftalí Villanueva Fernández - 2007 - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 26 (2):00-00.
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  • Hybrid Dispositionalism and the Law.Teresa Marques - 2019 - In Kevin Toh, David Plunkett & Scott Shapiro (eds.), Dimensions of Normativity: New Essays on Metaethics and Jurisprudence. New York: Oxford University Press.
    Dworkin’s famous argument from legal disagreements poses a problem for legal positivism by undermining the idea that the law can be (just) the result of the practice and attitudes of norm-applying officials. In recent work, the chapter author argued that a hybrid contextualist theory paired with a dispositional theory of value—a hybrid dispositionalism, for short—offers the resources to respond to similar disagreement- based arguments in other evaluative and normative domains. This chapter claims that the theory the author advocates can extend (...)
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  • Courage, Cowardice, and Maher’s Misstep.Brent G. Kyle - 2017 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 47 (4):565-587.
    Could a Nazi soldier or terrorist be courageous? The Courage Problem asks us to answer this sort of question, and then to explain why people are reluctant to give this answer. The present paper sheds new light on the Courage Problem by examining a controversy sparked by Bill Maher, who claimed that the 9/11 terrorists’ acts were ‘not cowardly.’ It is shown that Maher's controversy is fundamentally related to the Courage Problem. Then, a unified solution to both problems is provided. (...)
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  • Minimal Expressivism.María José Frápolli & Neftalí Villanueva - 2012 - Dialectica 66 (4):471-487.
    The purpose of this paper is twofold: first we outline a version of non-descriptivism, ‘minimal expressivism’, leaving aside certain long-standing problems associated with conventional expressivist views. Second, we examine the way in which familiar expressivist results can be accommodated within this framework, through a particular interpretation that the expressive realm lends to a theory of meaning. Expressivist theories of meaning address only a portion of the classical problems attributed to this position when they seek to explain why the expressions they (...)
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  • Bait and Switch Philosophy.Chris Daly - 2015 - Analysis 75 (3):372-379.
    Many philosophers employ an intellectual division of labour. Philosophy tells us what the truth conditions of various philosophically interesting sentences are. For example, atomic sentences containing numerals are sentences containing singular terms putatively referring to numbers; sentences about what could be are sentences quantifying over possible worlds and so on. Some discipline outside of philosophy tells us that certain of these sentences are true. The purported result is that such philosophically controversial entities as numbers and possible worlds have been shown (...)
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  • Shifting Targets and Disagreements.Robin McKenna - 2014 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 92 (4):725-742.
    Many have rejected contextualism about ?knows? because the view runs into trouble with intra- and inter-contextual disagreement reports. My aim in this paper is to show that this is a mistake. First, I outline four desiderata for a contextualist solution to the problem. Second, I argue that two extant solutions to the problem fail to satisfy the desiderata. Third, I develop an alternative solution which satisfies the four desiderata. The basic idea, put roughly, is that ?knowledge? ascriptions serve the function (...)
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  • A Plea for Semantic Localism.Agustín Rayo - 2013 - Noûs 47 (4):647-679.
    The purpose of this paper is to defend a conception of language that does not rely on linguistic meanings, and use it to address the Sorites and Liar paradoxes.
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  • Saying Nothing : In Defence of Syntactic and Semantic Underdetermination.Mark Bowker - 2016 - Dissertation, University of St Andrews
    According to the Encoding Model, speakers communicate by encoding the propositions they want to communicate into sentences, in accordance with the conventions of a language L. By uttering a sentence that encodes p, the speaker says that p. Communication is successful only if the audience identifies the proposition that the speaker intends to communicate, which is achieved by decoding the uttered sentence in accordance with the conventions of L. A consequence of the Encoding Model has been the proliferation of underdetermination (...)
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  • Conversational Exculpature.Daniel Hoek - 2018 - Philosophical Review 127 (2):151-196.
    Conversational exculpature is a pragmatic process whereby information is subtracted from, rather than added to, what the speaker literally says. This pragmatic content subtraction explains why we can say “Rob is six feet tall” without implying that Rob is between 5'0.99" and 6'0.01" tall, and why we can say “Ellen has a hat like the one Sherlock Holmes always wears” without implying Holmes exists or has a hat. This article presents a simple formalism for understanding this pragmatic mechanism, specifying how, (...)
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  • Presuppositions and Appropriateness of Assertions.Filippo Domaneschi - 2011 - Lodz Papers in Pragmatics 7 (2):205-222.
    Presuppositions and Appropriateness of Assertions In this paper I aim to compare and evaluate two theoretic approaches to pragmatic presuppositions: the Common Ground account and Propositional Context account. According to the Common Ground account proposed by Stalnaker, it is appropriate to assert a sentence p that requires a presupposition q only if q is mutually believed as accepted as true and taken for granted by the interlocutors. Otherwise, Gauker claims that the ground of propositions taken for granted coincides with what (...)
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  • Aesthetic Predicates: A Hybrid Dispositional Account.Teresa Marques - 2016 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 59 (6):723-751, doi:10.1080/0020174X.20.
    This paper explores the possibility of developing a hybrid version of dispositional theories of aesthetic values. On such a theory, uses of aesthetic predicates express relational second-order dispositional properties. If the theory is not absolutist, it allows for the relativity of aesthetic values. But it may be objected to on the grounds that it fails to explain disagreement among subjects who are not disposed alike. This paper explores the possibility of adapting recent proposals of hybrid expressivist theories for moral predicates (...)
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  • Fictionalism.Matti Eklund - 2010 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  • On the Presuppositions of Number Sentences.Katharina Felka - 2015 - Synthese 192 (5):1393-1412.
    This paper is concerned with an intuitive contrast that arises when we consider sentences containing empty definite descriptions. A sentence like ‘The king of France is bald’ appears neither true nor false, while a sentence like ‘My friend was visited by the king of France’ appears false. Recently, Stephen Yablo has suggested an account of this intuitive contrast. Yablo’s account is particularly interesting, since it has important consequences for the ontological commitments of number sentences like ‘The number of planets is (...)
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  • “The King of France is Bald” Reconsidered: A Case Against Yablo.Andrej Jandrić - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 169 (2):173-181.
    Stephen Yablo has argued for metaontological antirealism: he believes that the sentences claiming or denying the existence of numbers (or other abstract entities or mereological sums) are inapt for truth valuation, because the reference failure of a numerical singular term (or a singular term for an abstract entity or a mereological sum) would not produce a truth value gap in any sentence containing that term. At the same time, Yablo believes that nothing similar applies to singular terms that aim to (...)
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  • Defending Nonreductionism About Understanding.Michele Palmira - 2019 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 8 (3):222-231.
    In this note I defend nonreductionism about understanding by arguing that knowledge is neither necessary nor sufficient for understanding. To do so, I examine Paulina Sliwa’s recent (Sliwa 2015, 2017) defence of knowledge-based Reductionism (Reductionism for short). Sliwa claims that one understands why p if and only if one has a sufficient amount of knowledge why p. Sliwa also contends that Reductionism is supported by intuitive verdicts about our uses of ‘understanding why’ and ‘knowing why’. In reply, I first argue (...)
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  • Expressivism and Crossed Disagreements.Javier Osorio & Neftali Villanueva - 2019 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 86:111-132.
    The purpose of this paper is to explore the connection between expressivism and disagreement. More in particular, the aim is to defend that one of the desiderata that can be derived from the study of disagreement, the explanation of ‘crossed disagreements’, can only be accommodated within a semantic theory that respects, at the meta-semantic level, certain expressivistic restrictions. We will compare contemporary dynamic expressivism with three different varieties of contextualist strategies to accommodate the specificities of evaluative language –indexical contextualism – (...)
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  • Against the Russellian Open Future.Anders J. Schoubye & Brian Rabern - 2017 - Mind 126 (504): 1217–1237.
    Todd (2016) proposes an analysis of future-directed sentences, in particular sentences of the form 'will(φ)', that is based on the classic Russellian analysis of definite descriptions. Todd's analysis is supposed to vindicate the claim that the future is metaphysically open while retaining a simple Ockhamist semantics of future contingents and the principles of classical logic, i.e. bivalence and the law of excluded middle. Consequently, an open futurist can straightforwardly retain classical logic without appeal to supervaluations, determinacy operators, or any further (...)
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  • Accommodating Presuppositions.Manuel García-Carpintero - 2016 - Topoi 35 (1):37-44.
    In this paper I elaborate on previous criticisms of the influential Stalnakerian account of presuppositions, pointing out that the well-known practice of informative presupposition puts heavy strain on Stalnaker’s pragmatic characterization of the phenomenon of presupposition, in particular of the triggering of presuppositions. Stalnaker has replied to previous criticisms by relying on the well-taken point that we should take into account the time at which presupposition-requirements are to be computed. In defense of a different, ‘semantic’ account of the phenomenon of (...)
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  • The Bridge Principle and Stigmatized Truth-Values.Ricardo Mena - forthcoming - Topoi:1-10.
    The Bridge Principle states that one shouldn’t assert a sentence that is indeterminate relative to possibilities that are still live options. This principle serves as a bridge between semantic and pragmatic presuppositions. I argue that, given the phenomenon of vagueness, the bridge principle cannot be true as formulated. An alternative formulation of the Bridge Principle is offered.
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  • Strong Contextual Felicity and Felicitous Underspecification.Jeffrey C. King - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 97 (3):631-657.
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  • Descriptions.Peter Ludlow - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  • Questions with NPIs.Andreea C. Nicolae - 2015 - Natural Language Semantics 23 (1):21-76.
    This paper investigates how the distribution of negative polarity items can inform our understanding of the underlying semantic representation of constituent questions. It argues that the distribution of NPIs in questions is governed by the same logical properties that govern their distribution in declarative constructions. Building on an observation due to Guerzoni and Sharvit that strength of exhaustivity in questions correlates with the acceptability of NPIs, I propose a revision of the semantics of questions that can explain this link in (...)
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  • Definite Descriptions and Negative Existential Quantifiers.Paul Elbourne - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (7):1597-1612.
    Previous theorists have claimed that Russell’s theory of definite descriptions gives the wrong truth conditions to sentences in which definite descriptions are embedded under certain other operators; but the other operators used, such as conditionals and propositional attitude verbs, have introduced intensional and hyperintensional complications that might be thought to obscure the point against Russell. This paper shows that the same kind of problem arises when the operator in question allows the context to be extensional. It is further argued that (...)
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  • Presupposition Failure and the Assertive Enterprise.Anne Bezuidenhout - 2016 - Topoi 35 (1):23-35.
    I outline a discourse-based account of presuppositions that relies on insights from the writings of Peter Strawson, as well as on insights from more recent work by Robert Stalnaker and Barbara Abbott. One of the key elements of my account is the idea that presuppositions are “assertorically inert”, in the sense that they are background propositions, rather than being part of the “at issue” or asserted content. Strawson is often assumed to have defended the view that the falsity of a (...)
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  • Licensing Strong NPIs.Jon R. Gajewski - 2011 - Natural Language Semantics 19 (2):109-148.
    This paper proposes that both weak and strong NPIs in English are sensitive to the downward entailingness of their licensers. It is also proposed, however, that these two types of NPIs pay attention to different aspects of the meaning of their environment. As observed by von Fintel and Chierchia, weak NPIs do not attend to the scalar implicatures of presuppositions of their licensers. Strong NPIs see both the truth-conditional and non-truth-conditional (scalar implications, presuppositions) meaning of their licensers. This theory accounts (...)
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  • Should Metaphysics Care About Linguistics?Tobias Rosefeldt - 2018 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 49 (2):161-178.
    Naturalized metaphysics is based on the idea that philosophy should be guided by the sciences. The paradigmatic science that is relevant for metaphysics is physics because physics tells us what fundamental reality is ultimately like. There are other sciences, however, that de facto play a role in philosophical inquiries about what there is, one of them being the science of language, i.e. linguistics. In this paper I will be concerned with the question what role linguistics should and does play for (...)
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  • Comments on Stephen Yablo’s Aboutness.Katharina Felka - 2018 - Erkenntnis 83 (6):1181-1194.
    This paper concerns Yablo’s theory of asserted content as it is developed in his new book Aboutness. Yablo’s central idea is that in order to specify the asserted content of a sentence, we have to subtract those parts of its full semantic content that concern irrelevant subject matters. The paper argues that it is doubtful whether Yablo’s account successfully deals with its most basic envisaged application: to account for a difference of apparent truth value in cases of ordinary presupposition failure. (...)
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  • Descriptions.P. Elbourne - 2007 - In Thaddeus Metz (ed.), Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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