Writing Assignment 1

Writing Assignment 1 - Rebekah Lochte (1) What is Morgans...

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Rebekah Lochte (1) What is “Morgan’s Canon” and do you think it is a valid and useful guideline for comparative psychology? Why or why not? C. Lloyd Morgan developed a theory similar to Occam’s Razor regarding comparative psychology. Occam’s Razor says that if there are multiple explanations for a certain happening, the simplest one is probably correct. For example, if the grass outside changes color, it is probably due to the weather and the environment, not due to an alien invasion. Similarly, “Morgan’s Canon” says that we should not anthropomorphize animals, and instead, we should attribute their behaviors to more rational explanations. We use “Morgan’s Canon” to help us understand comparative psychology. It is supposed to help us to determine when an animal behaves in a similar way to humans, if the animal is doing so consciously or through instinct or conditioning. I think that this theory is helpful to an extent. It can make comparing animals to humans almost impossible though. If one is always looking for a way to compare animals and humans, they may think that they found one when in fact it just a genetically written behavior. “Morgan’s Canon” helps to narrow down different behaviors that may be due to animal consciousness, but we do not know exactly what it means to be conscious. Until we clearly define consciousness, “Morgan’s Canon” will hinder us from studying comparative psychology. Also, one problem I have with many different sects of psychology is that scientists are
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Writing Assignment 1 - Rebekah Lochte (1) What is Morgans...

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