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February 19th. Puppyhood.

Please stop your Dog from Looming Houndishly at my Small Human, says the Smart Lady. Its Coat is from Boden. It has Unicorns on.

I am sorry, says the Owner to the Owner of the Small Human, my Dog is only a Puppy.

My Coat is from Amazon, I say to the Small Human.

I hate my Coat, says the Small Human. It has Unicorns on. It is Ridiculous.

I hate my Coat too, I say. It makes me look like a Tomato. We are both Oppressed.

Your Dog is the size of an Antelope, says the Person, the North American kind of Antelope rather than the small ones one sees in Zoos. You cannot say he is a Puppy.

He is behaviourally a Puppy, says the Owner. He cannot Help It.

That is like saying the Prime Minister is behaviourally a Dillon, says the Person, he may not be able to Help It but that does not make it a Moral Excuse,

He must be a Puppy, he has big Paws, says the Owner.

Are we talking about the Prime Minister or your Dog? Asks the Person.

Almost certainly Both, says the Owner.

How Old are You, asks the Small Human.

Eight Months Human, I say, which is a little less than Five in Dog.

I am the Same, says the Small Human. One day I will be Big.

So will I, I say.

You are Already Big, says the Small Human.

Everything is Relative, I say. I feel we have Bonded.

You cannot call him a Puppy just because he has Big Paws, says the Person. Lions have big paws and they are not Puppies. Having Big Paws is not a Sufficient Moral Condition for Being a Puppy. The Necessary Moral Conditions for Being a Puppy also include being Small and Cute, and an Absence of Houndish Looming. Your Dog is not Small and Cute, and the Houndish Looming is Self-Evident.

I agree, says the Owner, that he is Not Small for a Dog, but he would be small if he was an Elephant.

He is not cute, either, says the Person. He has no Fluff.

Did you hear that? I say to the Small Human.

I am not Cute either, says the Small Human. I am growing up to be Spiderman. Spiderman is not Cute.

Cuteness, says the Owner, is not a Matter of Fluff, it is a Matter of the Soul.

She got that from Me, I say to the Small Human.

Nice one, says the Small Human.

On the Way Home I ask the Owner how she can be so sure I am Morally a Puppy.

Well, says the Owner, the Vet says you are a Puppy, by Convention Dogs are Puppies until they are twelve months old, you have Big Paws and you eat Puppy Duck and Rice. All of this suggests you are Morally a Puppy.

None of those are Moral Reasons for Puppiness, I say. Matthew Kramer says that one can only be a member of a Moral Community for Morally Relevant Reasons. Convention is not Moral but Mere Cultural Habit. Look at the treatment of Women in Saudi Arabia. The Vet cannot define Puppyhood as he is part of a Different Convention, that of Vets. We have already Determined that Big Paws might equally determine that I am a Lion. And I if I eat Puppy Duck and Rice because I am a Puppy then I cannot also be a Puppy because I eat Puppy Duck and Rice. Perhaps I am not Morally a Puppy at all.

I take your Point, says the Owner. Whilst Convention and Vets and Paws and Food all suggest you are not yet a Physically Mature Dog, they constitute Reasons for Biological, rather than Moral, Puppyhood and cannot of themselves Morally Excuse the Houndish Looming. However Aristotle saw Puppyhood as being on the way to being a Morally Mature. He suggested that the role of Puppyhood is to help a Puppy grow into a Moral Dog, and that one ceases to be a Puppy when Fully Moral. Coincidentally, this tends to be Aligned with Convention, Paw Size and a Shift to Hills Adult Formula for Large Breeds in Turkey Flavour.

I do not like this Theory, I say. Aristotle implies that a Puppy is just a somewhat Morally Deficient Dog.

You are right, says the Owner. Matthews suggests that this is the Wrong way to think of Puppies. He says that since Puppies have abilities Adult Dogs do not have, such as the Ability to Learn and to Avoid Moral Judgements, the Ability to Bond with Small Humans who Do Not Like wearing Coats with Unicorns On, and a certain Unfettered Enthusiasm in their Houndish Looming, then perhaps Adult Dogs are just Somewhat Morally Deficient Puppies. A Puppy, for Example, would never seek to Reject Refugees, to Argue with its Nearest Neighbours or to Sack those who Disagreed with It. And a Puppy would certainly never put in a Queen’s Speech that he intended to forbid such institutions as Universities to express Moral Disapproval of any foreign countries’ actions by, for example, refraining from purchasing their exports.

That is a far Better Explanation of a Puppy, I say, although I am not sure that you are still talking about Puppies.

Indeed, says the Owner.

And, I say, it does rather imply it is all Morally Downhill from Here, I say. For both me and the Prime Minister, I say.

Only for you, says the Owner. I think he is there already.

Categories: dignity dog dog philosophy

Hergest the Hound

I am a dog of many thoughts.

1 reply

  1. Definitely hope for the moral dog but perhaps not the prime minister. At 7 months Ada too has been guilty of over enthusiastic houndish looming, even accidently knocking a small child onto their bottom but she was terribly sorry to have done so.


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