Affordable Access

Access to the full text

Missing-link conditionals: pragmatically infelicitous or semantically defective?

Authors
  • Krzyżanowska, Karolina
  • Douven, Igor
Type
Published Article
Journal
Intercultural Pragmatics
Publisher
De Gruyter
Publication Date
Apr 25, 2018
Volume
15
Issue
2
Pages
191–211
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1515/ip-2018-0004
Source
De Gruyter
Keywords
License
Yellow

Abstract

According to virtually all major theories of conditionals, conditionals with a true antecedent and a true consequent are true. Yet conditionals whose antecedent and consequent have nothing to do with each other—so-called missing-link conditionals—strike us as odd, regardless of the truth values of their constituent clauses. Most theorists attribute this apparent oddness to pragmatics, but on a recent proposal, it rather betokens a semantic defect. Research in experimental pragmatics suggests that people can be more or less sensitive to pragmatic cues and may be inclined to differing degrees to evaluate a true sentence carrying a false implicature as false. We report the results of an empirical study that investigated whether people’s sensitivity to false implicatures is associated with how they tend to evaluate missing-link conditionals with true clauses. These results shed light on the question of whether missing-link conditionals are best seen as pragmatically infelicitous or rather as semantically defective.

Report this publication

Statistics

Seen <100 times