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SPAGAD Lecture Series: Preconditions and Projection

Speaker Mandy Simons and Craige Roberts
Affiliaton(s) Carnegie Mellon University and Ohio State University/Barnard College
Date 27.01.2023, 16:00
Time 16:00 o'clock
Venue Online (see below)
Link to SPAGAD Lecture Series

Commentary             Florian Schwarz (University of Pennsylvania)

Link to YouTube-Video of the talk­


This talk is concerned with a set of projective contents which we call background contents. Tonhauser et al. 2013 identify these as projective contents which lack a Strong Contextual Felicity Constraint, that is, they are felicitous when informative; additionally these implications show Obligatory Local Effect, that is, they are contents which are obligatorily entailed in the local context updated by the triggering clause. We focus in this talk on three subclasses of such contents: the veridical entailments of factives; the pre-state entailments of change of state predicates; and also a less familiar set of cases, the implications of the satisfaction of verbal selectional restrictions (e.g. the implication arising from an utterance of “Jane kicked the tree” that Jane has a foot). We provide an account of the projective behavior of these contents which does three things: it explains what distinguishes the projective implications of these triggers from their non-projective implications; it further motivates why just these implications should be projective; and finally provides an account of patterns of projection and non-projection. Briefly, we argue that this class of projective implications characterize ontological preconditions of the event-types described by their triggers; we argue that their projectivity reflects pragmatically driven defaults for cooperative interpretation; and we demonstrate that non-projection, including in standard filtering environments, occurs where the very same pragmatic considerations render a projective interpretation pragmatically implausible. A core feature of our account is that it explains projection and filtering without assuming anaphoric constraints, or any requirement of contextual "satisfaction." The account thus distinguishes the projection of background contents from the projection of true anaphoric presuppositions, and evades the longstanding proviso problem. Time permitting, we will compare our triggering account to proposals by Abrusan 2011 and Schlenker 2021.

Link: hu-berlin.zoom.us/j/65658112731

Zoom Meeting-ID: 656 5811 2731

Password: Please contact Christin Walch, walch@leibniz-zas.de