Thanks to George Botterill, Paul Faulkner, David Liggins, Peter Lipton, Robert Lurz, Gregory Radick and two anonymous referees for Mind & Language for helpful discussion and comments on earlier versions of this paper. Particular thanks go to Stephen Laurence who provided invaluable feedback on several draft versions. Thanks also to audiences at the Universities of Leeds, Oxford and Sheffield where versions of this paper were presented.
Doing Away with Morgan’s Canon
Article first published online: 12 MAR 2008
© 2008 The Author
Mind & Language
Volume 23, Issue 2, pages 224–246, April 2008
How to Cite
FITZPATRICK, S. (2008), Doing Away with Morgan’s Canon. Mind & Language, 23: 224–246. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-0017.2007.00338.x
- Issue published online: 12 MAR 2008
- Article first published online: 12 MAR 2008
Abstract: Morgan’s Canon is a very widely endorsed methodological principle in animal psychology, believed to be vital for a rigorous, scientific approach to the study of animal cognition. In contrast I argue that Morgan’s Canon is unjustified, pernicious and unnecessary. I identify two main versions of the Canon and show that they both suffer from very serious problems. I then suggest an alternative methodological principle that captures all of the genuine methodological benefits that Morgan’s Canon can bring but suffers from none of its problems.