On the Meaning of 'Therefore'

Analysis 77 (1):88-97 (2017)
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I argue for an analysis of ‘therefore’ as presupposition trigger against the more standard conventional implicature story originally put forward by Grice (1975). I propose that we model the relevant presupposition as “testing” the context in a way that is similar to how, according to some dynamic treatments of epistemic `must', ‘must’ tests the context. But whereas the presupposition analysis is plausible for ‘therefore’, ‘must’ is not plausibly a presupposition trigger. Moreover, whereas ‘must’ can naturally occur under a supposition, the same is not true for ‘therefore’. In the light of these differences, I suggest we distinguish between different sorts of tests on the basis of the mechanisms whereby these expressions test the context (whether through a presupposition or through their core content) and on the basis of whether they can operate only on categorical contexts or on both categorical and hypothetical contexts.

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Carlotta Pavese
Cornell University


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