Informally, any suppressed premise or background framework of thought necessary to make an argument valid, or a position tenable. More formally, a presupposition has been defined as a proposition whose truth is necessary for either the truth or the falsity of another statement. Thus if p presupposes q, q must be true for p to be either true or false. In the theory of knowledge of Collingwood, any propositions capable of truth or falsity stand on a bed of ‘absolute presuppositions’ which are not properly capable of truth or falsity, since a system of thought will contain no way of approaching such a question (a similar idea was later voiced by Wittgenstein in his work On Certainty ).
It was suggested by Strawson, in opposition to Russell's theory of definite descriptions, that ‘there exists a King of France’ is a presupposition of ‘the King of France is bald’, the latter being neither true, nor false, if there is no King of France. It is, however, a little unclear whether the idea is that no statement at all is made in such a case, or whether a statement is made, but fails of being either true or false. The former option preserves classical logic, since we can still say that every statement is either true or false, but the latter does not, since in classical logic the law of bivalence holds, and ensures that nothing at all is presupposed for any proposition to be true or false. The introduction of presupposition therefore means that either a third truth-value is found, ‘intermediate’ between truth and falsity, or that classical logic is preserved, but it is impossible to tell whether a particular sentence expresses a proposition that is a candidate for truth and falsity, without knowing more than the formation rules of the language. Each suggestion carries costs, and there is some consensus that at least where definite descriptions are involved, examples like the one given are equally well handled by regarding the overall sentence as false when the existence claim fails.

Philosophy dictionary. . 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • présupposition — [ presypozisjɔ̃ ] n. f. • 1306; de présupposer ♦ Supposition préalable. ⇒ présupposé (2o). « le contexte ou ensemble des présuppositions communes aux lecteurs et à l auteur » (Sartre). ● présupposition nom féminin Supposition préalable : Une… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Presupposition — Pre*sup po*si tion, n. [Pref. pre + supposition: cf. F. pr[ e]supposition.] 1. The act of presupposing; an antecedent implication; presumption. [1913 Webster] 2. That which is presupposed; a previous supposition or surmise. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • presupposition — index assumption (supposition), condition (contingent provision), conjecture, conviction (persuasion), foregone conclusion …   Law dictionary

  • presupposition — presumption, assumption, postulate, premise, posit (see under PRESUPPOSE) Analogous words: surmise, conjecture, guess (see under CONJECTURE vb): inference, deduction, judgment (see under INFER): belief, conviction, *opinion, view …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • Presupposition — In the linguistic branch of pragmatics, a presupposition is an implicit assumption about the world or background belief relating to an utterance whose truth is taken for granted in discourse. Examples of presuppositions include: * Do you want to… …   Wikipedia

  • présupposition — (pré su pô zi sion ; en vers, de six syllabes) s. f. Supposition préalable. •   En quelle sûreté de conscience les prétendus réformés ont ils pu, sous de si fausses présuppositions, violer la sainte unité que Jésus Christ a tant recommandée à son …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • Présupposition — La présupposition se définit en linguistique comme l ensemble des informations implicites d un énoncé, qui peuvent s en déduire mais n y sont pas formellement exposées. Par exemple, la phrase « Jean a cessé de fumer » présuppose que… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • presupposition — pre|sup|po|si|tion [ˌpri:sʌpəˈzıʃən] n formal 1.) something that you think is true, although you have no proof = ↑assumption presupposition that ▪ Hick s presupposition is that all religions believe in the same God. 2.) [U] when you think… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • presupposition — [[t]pri͟ːsʌpəzɪ̱ʃ(ə)n[/t]] presuppositions N COUNT A presupposition is something that you assume to be true, especially something which you must assume is true in order to continue with what you are saying or thinking. [FORMAL] ...the… …   English dictionary

  • PRÉSUPPOSITION — s. f. Supposition préalable. Sa présupposition est absurde …   Dictionnaire de l'Academie Francaise, 7eme edition (1835)

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