The Owner says I should not have eaten the Book. She says she required the Book in order to digest its contents.
I don’t understand this. She claims she has been digesting its contents for weeks yet she she hadn’t even taken a single bite. And how is she so sure it was me? Am I to be condemned without a proper hearing?
The Owner says Knowledge is not acquired by eating it, because if it was I would know by now that eating fox poo makes me sick. She says that, philosophically speaking, there are three kinds of Knowledge. There’s the kind you have when you know a Person (the Owner thinks she knows me in this way, although I note that since she is unaware of my Alter Ego, Superdog, she knows me less well than she thinks, which raises the question, can a person ever truly know the Moral Dog?) There’s the kind when you know how to do something – such as Rolling in Fox Poo, an art in itself when there is generally so little of it and so much of me to cover. Then there’s the kind you have when you know a fact is true, a type of knowledge she suggests is absent from Certain Politicians who seem to think, for example, that it doesn’t matter whether the Prime Minister is a Moral Man as long as he does the job. She says one example of a fact that is unquestionably true is that she would have known all about Death, Dissection and the Destitute if I hadn’t eaten her book.
The Owner says she takes the Socratic Intellectualist view of Knowledge, which says that all kinds of Knowledge relate to one another so that to know what is Moral is to know what one should do, meaning that the so-called Moral Dog should not eat the Owner’s book. I dislike the term so-called, which I think perjorative, but she ploughs on. She says that to know how to do something potentially equips one to do it, and to be able to do it tells one unquestionable facts about how to do it. She says she therefore doesn’t have to know how I rolled in fox poo to know that I did, because it is a fact that I smell like a drain and chickens scream when I pass. Likewise, she says, she doesn’t need to have seen me chewing ‘Death, Dissection and the Destitute’ to know that I ate it, because the teeth marks are a complete match. Then she looks at me as if to say that the Moralness of my Dogness is open to dispute.
I think she is exaggerating. It was only one chicken. I explain that I ascribe to the anti-intellectualist views of Gilbert Ryle, who said that the different types of knowledge do not rely on one another. To know how to do something is not the same as knowing the facts about how to do it. You can know many things about the Moral Dog without understanding the true depth of his soul (I do not mention Superdog but I reflect inwardly on how foolish she would feel if she knew). One cannot therefore know that ‘Death, Dissection and the Destitute’ tastes of fish without eating it.
The Owner says that like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern I am hoist by my own petard. ‘Marshal me to knavery,’ she adds pointedly, and fetches the lead.
I suggest that quoting Hamlet at me doesn’t solve the basic question of who chewed the book. One is innocent till proved guilty.
She says I have just explained why her Shakespeare Compendium also has teeth marks in it, and she is putting me in the garden whilst she repairs it.
I demand to know on what authority I am So Judged, but she points out that Francis Bacon said in 1597 that Knowledge Itself is Power, and since nobody has contradicted him it must be true and she doesn’t need any.
All I have to chew now is dead ox. How am I supposed to learn anything here?
Hergest the Hound
I am a dog of many thoughts.