“The Limits of Animal Intelligence”

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MR. DIXON has not, I think, quite grasped the main tendency of my paper read before the International Congress of Experimental Psychology. Nor is this to be wondered at. He quotes from a brief summary of what was itself but an abstract of a portion of a work on Comparative Psychology on which I am engaged. I am in agreement with nearly all that Mr. Dixon says, except where he misunderstands my position, and except in the opinion he expresses in the last sentence. When Mr. Dixon says, “Of course it is true that my knowledge of my own psychology does differ in kind from my knowledge of that of animals, but it differs in exactly the same way from that of all other men,” he is expressing the views which I, in common with most men who have seriously studied the question, hold. And when he says, “If in no case is ‘an animal activity to be interpreted as the outcome of the exercise of a higher psychical faculty if it can be fairly interpreted as the outcome of one which stands lower in the psychological scale,’ the same rule should be applied to the (scientific) interpretation of human activities,” I can only say that I heartily agree with him. Since, therefore, we have so much in common, I do not propose to occupy valuable space in discussing the outstanding points of difference between us. I may perhaps be allowed, however, to take advantage of the courtesy of the Editor of NATURE, and to say a few words in elucidation of the thesis I very imperfectly set forth in my paper, a thesis based entirely on observation and induction.

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MORGAN, C. “The Limits of Animal Intelligence”. Nature 46, 417 (1892) doi:10.1038/046417b0

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