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January 3rd. Freedom.

Today the Owner and I go to Cambridge, where we visit the River. I have an excellent time and manage to Outrage Several Ducks (who congregate on the Other Side looking Supercilious) by suggesting I am On My Way to See Them. It is a Moral Victory, and one I am Preparing to Push Home when the owner calls me to Exit the River.

We have to go now, says the Owner. We are going to the pub for lunch.

I will stay here whilst you do that, I say. I am planning to Entertain those Ducks.

The Ducks do not Want to be Entertained, says the Owner. You have to come to the pub.

I do not Have to do anything, I say. The Freedom of the Truly Moral cannot be limited by Intimidation, Threat or Morally Dubious Claims about the Preferences of Ducks, I say. If it were then they would not be Moral at all, they would merely be Following Orders.

I am not expecting the Moral Dog to Follow Orders, says the Owner, I am expecting him to Adopt a Moral Approach which involves Coming to the Pub.

I don’t understand why, I say. I am not stopping you from going to the Pub. Almost certainly, once there, you will Eat Lettuce and talk about Salad Dressing. It will be Gripping. You will not need the Moral Dog to Entertain You. I would like to Entertain the Ducks.

I am not taking you with me to Entertain me, says the Owner. I am taking you with me because you Cannot Stay Here Without Me. And the reason for that is precisely because you would like to Entertain the Ducks.

This is most unfair, I say. What about the Freedom of the Moral Dog? I ask.

The Freedom of the Moral Dog is Subject to Limits, says the Owner. There are Always Limits, particularly Regarding Ducks.

In that case, I say, I have been Misinformed. I thought that, as John Milton says in Paradise Lost, it is the Freedom to Fall that is the Point of Being Moral. Is not that also a Reasonable Summary of the Philosophy of Immanuel Kant? Did he not say there is only one innate right, and that is Freedom, defined as independence from being constrained by another’s choice?

He did say that, says the Owner, but the Happiness of Ducks is considered a Common Social Purpose to which we must All Commit and through which we must Moderate our Behaviour in order to Remain Moral.

I have never heard anything so ridiculous, I say. The Happiness of Ducks? Did not Kant suggest that a state cannot legitimately impose its own conception of happiness upon its citizens, since to do so would be for the ruler to treat us as children?

He did indeed, says the Owner, but No Dog is an Island.

Of course I am not an Island, I say. If I were an Island then I could not seriously expect success in Entertaining Ducks.

I do not mean that sort of Island, says the Owner, I mean that you are a Part of the Moral Community. Kant suggests that, when determining what is Morally Permissible for the Moral Community, One must Consider the Consequences if Everyone were to do it at once?

I am Rather Pleased to know that I am Part of the Moral Community, since this represents a considerable Step Up from the Ducks. So, I say, when determining whether it is permissible to Entertain Ducks I must consider what would happen if everyone in the Community were to Entertain the Ducks with me?

Exactly, says the Owner.

That sounds like a Fantastic Idea, I say. Come with me into the River and we can Give It A Go.

We could, says the Owner. Although I think you will find that, when we are Shut into our Police Cells by the rest of the Moral Community, we may wish we had been to the Pub.

The Freedom of the Moral Dog cannot be limited by Intimidation, Threat or Morally Dubious Arguments about the Happiness of Ducks, I say.

I know that, says the Owner. On the Other Hand, you might also take the View that a Chip in the Hand is worth two Ducks in the Bush.

The Owner and I go to the Pub. This is a Mutual Moral Agreement in the Interests of the Moral Community. The Freedom of the Moral Dog is not limited by Intimidation, Threat or Ridiculous Duck Fascicm. It is, however, moderately susceptible to the Offer of Chips.

Although given that I am a member of the Moral Community it is not Clear why I have to eat them Under the Table.

Categories: dignity dog dog philosophy freedom

Hergest the Hound

I am a dog of many thoughts.

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