FACT AND FABLE IN ANIMAL
As an instance of a simple and clear-cut "case" in the study of conviction, the contrast of the facts and the fables in the intellectual powers ascribed to pet animals leaves nothing to be desired. The question at issue is direct and distinct. Can a dog or a horse reason in the sense of calculating, reading, and making similar logical distinctions? When an alleged educated dog or an equine genius is exhibited with elaborate demonstrations on the public stage, what shall be our attitude of belief? Once again we have to draw the line between the probable and improbable, the possible and impossible in terms of a psychological issue. Yet, so preposterous is the assumption involved in the claim, that even an elementary analysis of the psychological contradictions which it tolerates, is adequate to dispel the delusion. The will to believe in the supernormal animal may have affiliations with other "survivals" that continue to influence popular thinking through the imperfect consistency of the easy-going popular mind. Yet even fairly critical persons "take stock in" animal geniuses. In such cases, as well as in the case of the exhibitors of such animals, there may be a measure of self-deception in the process. Simple and brief though the case is, it stands clearly as a contribution to the logical conditions to which a psychological inquiry is subject.