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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ But suppose I am wrong in my basic presupposition that there can not be particularity.
▪ Consequently, we shall, as with reference, avoid attributing presuppositions to sentences or propositions.
▪ Do you see how presuppositions come in?
▪ How does the discourse analyst decide which discourse subjects to include in the presupposition pool for a particular piece of conversational discourse?
▪ In each case the foreign presuppositions bring their own problems with them.
▪ The mutual relationship between presuppositions and evidences could be expressed like this.
▪ Thereby I hope to provide moral justification for the non-egalitarian presuppositions of the methodology that is presented elsewhere in the book.
▪ These are obvious, though complicated-sounding, examples of the sort of indispensable presuppositions or faith-assumptions which we can not do without.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Presupposition \Pre*sup`po*si"tion\, n. [Pref. pre- + supposition: cf. F. pr['e]supposition.]

  1. The act of presupposing; an antecedent implication; presumption.

  2. That which is presupposed; a previous supposition or surmise.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1530s, from Middle French présupposition and directly from Medieval Latin praesuppositionem (nominative praesuppositio), noun of action from past participle stem of Latin praesupponere, from prae "before" (see pre-) + suppositio (see suppose).


n. 1 An assumption made beforehand; a preliminary conjecture or speculation. 2 The act of presupposing.


n. the act of presupposing; a supposition made prior to having knowledge (as for the purpose of argument)


In the branch of linguistics known as pragmatics, a presupposition (or ps) 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:

  • Jane no longer writes fiction.
    • Presupposition: Jane once wrote fiction.
  • Have you stopped eating meat?
    • Presupposition: you had once eaten meat.
  • Have you talked to Hans?
    • Presupposition: Hans exists.

A presupposition must be mutually known or assumed by the speaker and addressee for the utterance to be considered appropriate in context. It will generally remain a necessary assumption whether the utterance is placed in the form of an assertion, denial, or question, and can be associated with a specific lexical item or grammatical feature (presupposition trigger) in the utterance.

Crucially, negation of an expression does not change its presuppositions: I want to do it again and I don't want to do it again both presuppose that the subject has done it already one or more times; My wife is pregnant and My wife is not pregnant both presuppose that the subject has a wife. In this respect, presupposition is distinguished from entailment and implicature. For example, The president was assassinated entails that The president is dead, but if the expression is negated, the entailment is not necessarily true.

Presupposition (philosophy)

In epistemology, a presupposition relates to a belief system, or Weltanschauung, that is required for the argument to make sense. A variety of Christian apologetics, called presuppositional apologetics, argues that the existence or non-existence of God is the basic presupposition of all human thought, and that all people arrive at a worldview which is ultimately determined by the theology they presuppose. Evidence and arguments are only developed after the fact in an attempt to justify the theological assumptions already made. According to this view, it is impossible to demonstrate the existence of God unless one presupposes that God exists, with the stance that modern science relies on methodological naturalism, a myth, and thus is incapable of discovering the supernatural. It thereby fashions a Procrustean bed which rejects any observation which would disprove the naturalistic assumption. Apologists argue that the resulting worldview is inconsistent with itself and therefore irrational (for example, via the Argument from morality or via the Transcendental argument for the existence of God).

Presupposition (disambiguation)

In linguistics, a presupposition of a statement is a proposition which must be true in order for the statement to make sense.

Presupposition may also refer to:

  • Presupposition (philosophy), in epistemology, requirements for a belief system to make sense
  • Presuppositional apologetics, argues that the existence or non-existence of God is the basic presupposition of all human thought

Usage examples of "presupposition".

On the rise of philosophic reflection, these tacit presuppositions are first taken as dogmas, and later as postulates of scientific generalisation, and of the architectonic unification of science.

In a Section A the flat Blamer Mode accusation is hidden away as the presupposition.

While the model of vision endorsed in scientific materialism is indeed based on the presupposition of the absolute Cartesian distinction between subject and object, this model is not what allows for the experienced reality of sight.

The power of moral prejudices has penetrated deeply into the most spiritual world, which would seem to be the coldest and most devoid of presuppositions, and has obviously operated in an injurious, inhibiting, blinding, and distorting manner.

And nothing is demanded of this experience, no religious or moral or intellectual presuppositions, nothing but acceptances.

The very metaphysical presuppositions differ: space does not conform to Euclidean geometry, time does not form a continuous unidirectional flow, causation does not conform to Aristotelian logic, man is not differentiated from non-man or life from death, as in our world.

But today we have no such presuppositions, today we understand the world and know justice where your society knew only its shadows.

What I mean is this: if you look to the past to justify your actions rather than to guide them, you will not see the truths contained therein, but only what your presuppositions already were before you looked, and your ignorance will be reinforced rather than repudiated.