The Owner and I bring in the Bins because the Refuse Collectors have just been. I watch the Bin Lorry drive away up the Hill and disappear our of sight. I am looking forward to my Walk, I say. Can we go now?
We can indeed says the Owner, putting on her boots. Where is your Lead?
I do not need the Lead, I say. The Moral Dog can now walk to Heel.
He can, says the Owner, but he does not always Want To. This is why we have the Lead. Where is the Lead?
I have not seen the Lead today, I say.
Is that the Whole Truth? Asks the Owner, applying her Gimlet Gaze to the Moral Dog.
The Moral Dog can only Speak the Truth, I say.
Well, says the Owner, It is Conceivable that the Moral Dog’s Words are True whilst their Meaning is Not.
The Moral Dog has No Idea what you are Talking About, I say. The Moral Dog has not seen the Lead Today. That is the Truth.
The Moral Dog may not have seen it Today, says the Owner but this may nevertheless not be the Whole Truth.
The Truth cannot be Partial, I say, it is Truth however you Look at It, I say. The Correspondence Theory of Truth holds that there Simply are Truths. Bertrand Russell, for example, suggested that what we say is True if it corresponds to the way things Actually Are. The Truth, in other words is Determined Objectively from the Facts. I have definitely not Seen My Lead Today.
I agree with Bertrand says the Owner. However the Philosophical Logicist Harold Joachim’s Coherence Theory of Truth states that there is only the Whole Complete Truth. Statements which do not Encompass the Whole Complete Truth can only ever be True to a Degree.
The Moral Dog is a Realist, I say. A Realist believes that the world Exists Objectively, and so a Description of One Small Part of it may be True even if one Knows Nothing of the Rest. It is Realistically True that the Moral Dog has Not Seen the Lead today.
Nevertheless, says the Owner, a Partial Truth may be used to Obscure the Whole Truth. The question ‘Where is the Lead?’ sought the Whole Truth regarding the Whereabouts of the Lead, but the Moral Dog responded with a Truth only concerning what He Had Not Seen. This, in answering the Question Incompletely, Constitutes only a Partial Truth in this context, and indeed suggests that the Moral Dog Knows more than he is Letting On because the Moral Dog may in fact also be a Slippery Eel.
I cannot imagine what you Mean, I say. The Moral Dog has Four Legs and a Hairy Body whilst a Slippery Eel has none. To suggest that the Moral Dog is a Slippery Eel is an Obvious Untruth.
The Moral Dog may be a Slippery Eel in Disguise, says the Owner. He might, for Instance, have Seen the Lead yesterday. He might Have It in his crate. He may Know Exactly where the Lead is. All of these Truths can coexist Perfectly Comfortably with the Truth that the Moral Dog has not Seen the Lead Today, which can be used to Conceal them. As Indeed a Slippery Eel Disguised as a Moral Dog might Deliberately Do.
The Moral Dog did not see the Lead Yesterday either, I say, he has Not Got the Lead in his Crate and he Does Not Know Exactly where the Lead is now. That Surely Answers All Your Questions. Did not the Pragmatist Charles Sanders Peirce say that Truth is at the End of Inquiry? Can We Go Now?
The Owner is a Pragmatist, says the Owner: whilst Truth is the End of Inquiry, this Inquiry is not yet at an End. True beliefs are guaranteed not to conflict with subsequent experience even at the end of Prolonged Inquiry. I suspect that a Prolonged Inquiry may both reveal the Location of the Lead and the fact that the Moral Dog is also a Slippery Eel.
How Prolonged an Inquiry are we talking about? I ask. The Moral Dog has Biological Needs.
One More Question, says the Owner.
The Moral Dog is Ready, I say, Bracing Myself.
Did the Moral Dog Put the Lead out in the Rubbish Bins Whilst he Had His Eyes Closed? Asks the Owner.
How does she do it?
Categories: dignity dog dog philosophy truth
Hergest the Hound
I am a dog of many thoughts.
Politicians have been famously “economical with the truth”!