Quantifier interpretation and syllogistic reasoning

Thinking and Reasoning 7 (2):173 – 204 (2001)
Many researchers have suggested that premise interpretation errors can account, at least in part, for errors on categorical syllogisms. However, although it is possible to show that people make such errors in simple inference tasks, the evidence for them is far less clear when actual syllogisms are administered. Part of the problem is due to the lack of clear predictions for the solutions that would be expected when using modified quantifiers, assuming that correct inferences are made from them. This paper presents the expected solutions for Gricean, reversible, and reversible Gricean interpretations, and evaluates these using three datasets (two currently available, and one new). The evidence supported the adoption of reversible and reversible Gricean interpretations, but not Gricean interpretations on their own. These results suggest that the categorical syllogism task tends to induce different quantifier interpretations from those identified in simple inference tasks.
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