Presuppositional Anaphora Is The Sobel Truth

In Salvatore Pistoia-Reda & Filippo Domaneschi (eds.), Linguistic and Psycholinguistic Approaches on Implicatures and Presuppositions. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 199-238 (2017)
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Sobel sequences have had a huge impact on the discussion of counterfactuals. They can be composed of conditionals and mere descriptions. What is especially puzzling about them is that they are often felicitously uttered when their reversal is not. Up to now, there is no unified explanation. I examine two strategies. We might begin with conditionals and proceed to descriptions. Or we might begin with descriptions and proceed to conditionals. I argue for the latter variant and outline a universal theory of Sobel sequences in terms of presuppositional anaphora. One relevant result is that the phenomenon neither counts against nor in favour of the simplified standard account of counterfactuals à la Stalnaker-Lewis.
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