Interpretation and use of disjunction in natural language: A study about exclusivity and inclusivity

Miguel López Astorga


The literature shows that people tend to interpret disjunctions as exclusive. From that fact, this paper describes a study intended to check whether or not that trend can also be observed when disjunction is used. The study was mainly based on an analysis of the semantic possibilities of the disjunctions appearing in a philosophical text. The method of analysis was akin to the one proposed by the theory of mental models to explore reasoning. The results revealed that the number of exclusive disjunctions employed in that text is exactly the same as the one of inclusive disjunctions in it. Hence, it is hard to claim that, in addition to what happens in the interpretation processes, disjunction is often exclusive when used as well.

Recibido: 26/07/2021      Aceptado:15/11/2021

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