Logic, Models, and Paradoxical Inferences

Mind and Language 27 (4):357-377 (2012)
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Abstract

People reject ‘paradoxical’ inferences, such as: Luisa didn't play music; therefore, if Luisa played soccer, then she didn't play music. For some theorists, they are invalid for everyday conditionals, but valid in logic. The theory of mental models implies that they are valid, but unacceptable because the conclusion refers to a possibility inconsistent with the premise. Hence, individuals should accept them if the conclusions refer only to possibilities consistent with the premises: Luisa didn't play soccer; therefore, if Luisa played a game then she didn't play soccer. Two experiments corroborated this prediction for three sorts of ‘paradox’, including a disjunctive paradox

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Peder Johnson
University of New Mexico