The Moral Dog smells Disgusting, says the Owner.
Thank you, I say.
It was not a Compliment, says the Owner.
It is in Dog, I say. The Moral Dog Thrills to his Very Tail at being called Disgusting, I say. It represents the Pinnacle of his Morning’s Achievement, I say. Even better than the Man in the Coffee Shop giving him a Treat, I say.
He did not Give it to you, says the Owner.
Did he not Generously Leave It Uneaten on his Plate? I ask. For Over a Second, I ask.
That is not the Point, says the Owner.
It is to a Dog, I say.
The Moral Dog is attempting Sidle Around the Fox Poo, says the Owner. He will not be Sidling Past the Shower.
Au Contraire, I say. I am right in there with the Fox Poo, I say. Wallowing in the Pleasure of my Favourite Fragrance, I say. Although I must say, I add, in Dog it has a More Beautiful Name, I say. ‘Fox Poo’ lacks a certain Elegance.
Call it whatever you like, says the Owner, it would still smell of Fox Poo. Did Shakespeare not say that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet? Says the Owner.
Aha, I say. You are attempting to defeat the Moral Dog with the Greatest Wordsmith of the English Language, but Shakespeare did not have a Vomeronasal Organ, I say. If he did he would not have Waxed Lyrical about Flowers, I say.
‘The forward violet thus I did chide-
Sweet thief, whence didst thou steal thy sweet that smells
If not from my love’s breath?’
What kind of Soppy Nonsense is That? I say. Where was the Fox Poo there? I say.
It is a Sonnet, you Canine Philistine, says the Owner. And Frankly, were the Moral Dog’s Every Exhale to smell of Violets I, to whom he Affects to be Devoted, would enjoy my Evening Yoga Indescribably More, says the Owner. The Moral Dog could Resuscitate a Rhinoceros from Twenty Feet, says the Owner.
You are Smothering me with Compliments, I say. This, therefore, does not explain why I should be Headed for the Shower, I say. Dogs who smell of Rose Shower Gel made from Roses No Dog Has Ever Weed On are singled out for Particular Mockery, I say. After the Moral Dog’s Last Shower Houdini laughed so hard he did not see the Warden Coming and ended up In The Pound, I say. Besides, I say. I do not recall Shakespeare mentioning Fox Poo, I say.
Shakespeare was making a Point,’ says the Owner, that what we Name Things does not Change what they Are, says the Owner.
If you did not call it Fox Poo you might Enjoy it More, I say. Wilfrid Sellars saw language as the Medium of Conceptualisation. Do Some Conceptualising, I say. You are Supposed to be a Philosopher.
I have already experienced too much Fox Poo to Reconceptualise, says the Owner. What we Name Things indicates what they are To Us, says the Owner. John Stuart Mill said that for meaning to have any significance for our thought and understanding, we must explain it in terms of our experience, says the Owner. I have Experienced enough Fox Poo to last a lifetime, says the Owner. No word for Fox Poo could make me Enjoy it More, even bearing in mind that I could not Enjoy it Any Less if it Danced around the Front Door singing Abba hits in Spanish, says the Owner.
Do not Throw your John Stuart Mill at your Moral Dog when you have simply not Experienced it Properly, I say. This is like the Innuit, and all their many words for Snow, I say. You have to Live with It for Some Time to Understand, I say. Step outside your Human Echo Chamber and Embrace the Astonishingly Full and Nuanced Olfactory Bouquet You Call Fox Poo through the far Deeper Experience of your Dog, I say.
What does the Moral Dog Call it then? Asks the Owner.
To One Lacking a VomeroNasal Organ designed to Amplify and Colour the Olfactory Experience the Language of Dog would be Incomprehensible, I say. Did not Wittgenstein said that if a Lion could Speak You Would Not Understand Him? I say.
I cannot believe that the Moral Dog is invoking Wittgenstein to justify rolling in Fox Poo, says the Owner.
I Think I have Won That One, I say. Do you Concede? I say. Owing to having been Soundly Trounced in Serious Philosophical Debate, I say. Overpowered by Shakespeare, I say. Defeated by Sellars I say. Obliterated by Wittgenstein, I say. Crushed by the Innuit, I say. Not even John Stuart Mill got you Out of That One, I say. Has the Moral Dog Sliced Triumphant through the Philosophical Discourse like Alexander the Great through the Persians at the Battle of Gaugamela? I say.
Possibly, says the Owner, but you are Still Having a Shower.
I don’t know what the Owner would call it. The Moral Dog calls it an Outrage.
Hergest the Hound
I am a dog of many thoughts.