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Batt, M., Trognon, A., Rivasseau-Jonveaux, T., Vernant, D., Jonveaux, P. (2014). Dialogical history of a logical fallacy spontaneously produced during a predictive medicine consultation. Role of the causal connective puisque in a discussion. Journal of Pragmatics, Vol.61, 120-141.


Interaction; Genetic counseling; Intersubjectivity; Dialogue, Conditional reasoning, connector puisque


This article, which really results from an interdisciplinary approach, presents the dialogical history of the production and the contesting of logical fallacies in natural dialogue stemming from a Genetic Counseling for Predictive Testing consultation. «This medical activity stems from discoveries in human genetics and has developed and become legally organized in recent years. As a result, the works devoted to this field have grown (Sarangi, 2003, 2010 ; Sarangi et al., 2004, 2005) and we have just understood the main features that constitute a genetic counseling consultation».
«The purpose of a dialogue such as the one currently under study is to formally create an information state (about genetic concepts) that is mutually shared by the interlocutors (Carlson, 1983; Van Benthem, 2011)».
Patients' understanding of genetic concepts is indeed leaded by many psycho-logic, affective, and cognitive constraints. «It is the latter that are in the focus of this article. Autosomal-dominant diseases have this very remarkable characteristic in that the laws of inheritance relationship are identical to the logical laws of the relationship of material implication of propositional logic. Knowing that (as concurred by many experimental studies) comprehension of material implication is subject to very strong reasoning biaises, we therefore deduced that the comprehension of inheritance laws of autosomal-dominant diseases would surely make genetic counseling a natural recipe for fallacies».
We have fully recorded and carefully transcribed the whole genetic counseling dialogue for Ms P. Then we have exhaustively analyzed it from the methodological framework of interlocutory logic (Trognon and Batt, 2010) in order to observe and formalize the different levels of the dialogical processes where conditional reasonings appear. This scrupulous analyze of the different dialogues of the consultation (successively with the geneticist, with the neurologist, and with the psychologist) shows us that just one of the «possible worlds» designed by the laws of inheritance haven't been explained by the medical team before the patient expresses one fallacious reasoning. That was a quite unique occasion for observing how the practicionners are going to contradict the proposition enunciated by Ms P. a much more difficult task that there is none example of this situation in the whole family of Ms P.!
Different kinds of researchers should be interested in this article. (1) From an epistemological point of view, it shows how, in some precise conditions, a spontaneous (i.e. non experimental) interaction can be considered as a model of a cognitive process experimentally circomscribed. (2) From both a logical and linguistical points of view, it shows us how the content of a natural dialogue can be formalized. (3) From an ergonomics point of view, our work, which finds out an important componant of the consultation's cognitive environment could be used to improve the skills of the praticionners. «Lastly, our work is part of a larger perspective on the relationships between dialogue, pragmatics, linguistics and formalism in order to shed insight on psychological phenomena in natural and empirical interactional contexts».

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