Cognitive and Empirical Pragmatics: Issues and perspectives
  • ISSN 0774-5141
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9676
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This squib reconsiders Geis & Zwicky’s influential proposal on Invited Inference, according to which conditionals are regularly “perfected” to biconditionals. We first show that the “regularity” assumption attached to conditional perfection is doubtful in light of established experimental findings concerning other logical terms, such as Some and or and the conjunction and. We then review existing conditional data with the aim of making them cohere with these other experimental findings. We argue that (a) the process that leaves the impression of a biconditional reading (the acceptance of a fallacious argument such as the Affirmation of the Consequent) arises only after all participants detect a violation on-line from what is essentially a surprising minor premise and that; (b) some participants make an effort to adjust to such unexpected violations at a relatively small cognitive cost in order to accept invalid arguments while others persist in rejecting whatever follows and at a greater cognitive cost. Both of these features of conditional processing undermine claims from Geis & Zwicky’s proposal.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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