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Truth Judgments vs. Validity Judgments

Conference paper
Authors Elizabeth Coppock
Published in Proceedings of the 15th Texas Linguistic Society. October 24–26, 2014, Austin, Texas
Pages 39-52
ISSN 1936-4105
Publication year 2015
Published at Department of Philosophy, Linguistics and Theory of Science
Pages 39-52
Language en
Keywords semantics, pragmatics, experimental
Subject categories Linguistics


This paper undertakes a direct comparison between two methodologies for getting at semantic intuitions: (i) validity judgments, where subjects judge the validity of arguments, e.g. There are three bananas; therefore there are at least three bananas, and (ii) picture verification tasks (also known as ‘truth judgment tasks’), in which, for example, one sees a picture of three bananas and judges a statement like There are at least three bananas. It has been suggested that validity judgment tasks are more sensitive to ignorance implicatures than picture verification tasks, but these two methods have not been compared directly using comparable stimuli. The present work aims to close that gap. The results show that validity judgment tasks do not in fact robustly pick up on ignorance implicatures, so they cannot be relied upon for that, although both validity judgment tasks and truth value judgment tasks are sensitive to violations of particularly strong pragmatic requirements. In general, the two kinds of tasks gave quite similar results. This raises the question of why validity judgment tasks sometimes pick up on ignorance implicatures and sometimes do not.

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