Presupposition, Implicature, and Accommodation

An On-Line Seminar with Professor Marina Sbisà

Cognition & Communication Research Group and the Institute of Philosophy and Cognitive Science at the University of Szczecin have a pleasure to invite to an on-line seminar with Professor Marina Sbisà from the University of Trieste, one of the leading philosophers of language. Her research interests include: development and consolidation of her Austin-inspired approach to speech acts; uses of philosophical pragmatics in applied philosophy; reconstruction and discussion of J.L. Austin’s philosophical views on language, action, knowledge and metaphilosophy.

Dates: 12th, 19th and 26th May (Tuesdays, 15.00-17.30)

“Venue”: Microsoft Teams

To participate, please fill in the following questionnaire. After registration, you will be added to the MS Teams group and get access to a folder with recommended readings.

Seminar description:

The seminar will deal with presupposition and implicature both as theoretical concepts and as tools for discourse analysis, starting from a distinction between presupposition and implicature based on their different functions as regards text construction and understanding. Basically: presuppositions are sentences the truth of whose content has to be taken for granted. Implicatures are sentences expressing completions or corrections of what is expressed by the utterance that activates them. Accommodation occurs in different forms and with different results both in the case of presuppositions not yet represented in the conversational exchange’s common ground and in the case of the retrieval of implicatures.

The notion of presupposition will be outlined with reference to so-called semantic and so-called pragmatic presupposition (both “pragmatic”, but in different senses), and to the “anaphoric” view. Informative and persuasive functions will be shown to be far more central to presupposition than is usually maintained.

The notion of implicature will be explained in the context of a re-reading of Grice’s philosophy of language focusing on intention attribution. It will be argued that the Gricean model for conversational implicature is suitable for discourse analysis. The notion of conventional implicature will be discussed with reference to its original function as well as its recent applications.

The role of accommodation with respect to what is communicated and what is done in discourse will be explored. The kinds of content we accommodate, the grounds, and the effects of accommodations will be examined. With respect to accommodation-based persuasive strategies, the availability of blocking strategies and their limits will be discussed.

author: Marina Sbisà


12th May (3pm – 5:30 pm) : Presupposition and accommodation: a historical-critical overview


Van der Sandt, R. A. (1992). Presupposition projection as anaphora resolution. Journal of semantics, 9(4), pp. 333-377.

Stalnaker, R.  (1974) Pragmatic presuppositions. In: M. Munitz, P. Unger Semantics and Philosophy, pp. 47-62. New York: New York University Press.

Sbisà, M. (1999). Presupposition, Implicature and Context in Text Understanding. In: P. Bouquet et al. (eds.) Modeling and Using Context, pp. 324-338. Berlin: Springer.

19th May (3 pm – 5:30 pm): Grice’s implicatures revisited


Grice, H. P. (1975) Logic and Conversation. In: P. Cole and J. L. Morgan (eds.), Syntax and Semantics, Vol. 3, Speech Acts. pp. 41–58. New York: Academic Press.

Sperber, D., Wilson, D. (2012). A deflationary account of metaphors. In: D. Wilson, D. Sperber, Meaning and Relevance. pp. 97-123. Cambridge University Press.

Bach, K. (1999). The myth of conventional implicature. Linguistics and philosophy, 22 (4), pp. 327-366.

26th May (3 pm – 5:30 pm): Communication, action, and accommodation


Langton, R. (2018) Blocking as Counter-Speech. In. D. Harris, D. Fogal, M. Moss (eds.) New Work on Speech Acts. New York: Oxford University Press.

Sbisà, M. (2017). Implicitness in normative texts. In F. Poggi, A. Capone (eds.) Pragmatics and Law, pp. 23-42. Cham: Springer.

Sbisà, M. (1999). Ideology and the persuasive use of presupposition. In: J. Verschueren (ed.) Language and ideology. Selected papers from the 6th International Pragmatics Conference (Vol. 1), pp. 492-509. Antwerp: International Pragmatics Association.

Further Readings:

Sbisà, M. (2018). Philosophical Pragmatics. In: A. Jucker, K. Schneider, W. Bublitz Methods in Pragmatics, pp. 133-154. De Gruyter Mouton.

Sbisà, M (2001). Intentions from the other side. In: G. Cosenza (ed.) Paul Grice’s heritage, pp. 185-206. Brepols.

Sbisà, M. (2018). Varieties of speech act norms. In: M. Witek, I. Witczak-Plisiecka (eds.) Normativity and variety of speech actions, pp. 23-50. Brill Rodopi.





The project UNIVERSITY 2.0 – CAREER ZONE is co-financed by the European Union under the European Social Fund Measure 3.5. Complex programs of higher education III. Higher education for economy and development Operational Program Knowledge Education Development 2014 – 2020

Projekt UNIWERSYTET 2.0 –STREFA KARIERY jest współfinansowany ze środków Unii Europejskiej w ramach Europejskiego Funduszu Społecznego Działanie 3.5 Kompleksowe programy szkół wyższych Oś III Szkolnictwo wyższe dla gospodarki i rozwoju Program Operacyjny Wiedza Edukacja Rozwój 2014 – 2020