Reflections on presupposition failure : a contribution to an integrated theory of pragmatics
Faculty of Arts. Linguistics and Literature
Journal of pragmatics: an interdisciplinary quarterly of language studies. - Amsterdam
, p. 107-152
University of Antwerp
An integrated theory of pragmatics is defined as the study of the appropriateness conditions on the use of natural language. In search of such a theory, the recent work by Peter Harder and Christian Kock, The theory of presupposition failure, is subjected to a detailed investigation. Its theoretical apparatus is shown to contain some of the elements necessary for the foundation of a unified description of presupposition, speech acts, and implicature, provided some of its weaknesses are eliminated. The main weakness is Harder and Kock's conscious but harmful reduction of the concepts of communicative function and presupposition, which prevents them from seeing the unity (though not identity) of the three phenomena mentioned.