The Theory of the Formal Discipline and the Possible Interpretations of Conditionals: Material Versus Defective Conditionals

  • Miguel López Astorga
Schlagworte: conditional, defective, material, mathematics, mental models


Attridge and Inglis try to check whether or not the ‘Theory of Formal Discipline’ is correct. This theory states that learning mathematics improves logical reasoning, and Attridge and Inglis review it by means of an experiment. Their conclusion is that, indeed, learning mathematics improves conditional inferences causing that conditionals are interpreted as defective. In this paper, I analyze Attridge and Inglis´s experiment and hold that it has a methodological problem and that hence does not really prove that learning mathematics lead to defective interpretations of conditionals. Equally, the paper includes a brief reflection on how the mental models theory can explain the results achieved by Attridge and Inglis.