On glasses half full or half empty: understanding framing effects in terms of default implicatures

Synthese 199 (3-4):11133-11159 (2021)
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Abstract

The variations in how subjects respond to positively or negatively framed descriptions of the same issue have received attention from social science research, where, nevertheless, a naïve understanding of speech interpretation has undermined the different explanations offered. The present paper explores the semantic-pragmatic side of framing effects and provides a unifying explanation of this phenomenon in terms of a combined effect of pragmatic presuppositions and default implicatures. The paper contributes to a more comprehensive understanding of representations and cognitive processes involved in the framing bias by showing how well-entrenched linguistic practices associated to frame choice, and conducive to an implicit focus, result in default implicatures on the addressee’s side.

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