Mimesis Law
18 February 2020

Descartes and Diesel: An Homage To A Dead Police Dog

Nov. 20, 2015 (Mimesis Law) — I love dogs. That is especially true for police dogs.

A French police dog named “Diesel” was killed during a police raid that targeted the suspected mastermind of the deadly terror attacks in Paris.

Renee Descartes, a Frenchman and the father of modern philosophy, thought of dogs and other sentient animals as machines. This allowed Descartes to do horrible things:

Descartes and his followers performed experiments in which they nailed animals by their paws onto boards and cut them open to reveal their beating hearts. They burned, scalded, and mutilated animals in every conceivable manner. When the animals reacted as though they were suffering pain, Descartes dismissed the reaction as no different from the sound of a machine that was functioning improperly. A crying dog, Descartes maintained, is no different from a whining gear that needs oil.

Patrick J Battuello, Descartes’ machines, timesunion (September 22, 2013).

Had Descartes known Diesel, I am pretty sure that philosophy would have been better off.


Richard G. Kopf
Senior United States District Judge (NE)

Photo Credit: Daily Mail. Seven-year-old French police dog Diesel pictured with her service medals


3 Comments on this post.

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  • shg
    20 November 2015 at 9:45 am - Reply

    While I don’t share your feelings about critters per se, I understand the deep connection some feel toward their furry friends. That said, it would seem far more comforting if the same degree of empathy shown to a different species was available for our own.

    It’s sad that a police dog died. It’s far sadder that Eric Garner, Akai Gurley, Tamir Rice, et al., died. Or is that just my human ablist prejudice that makes me more concerned for human beings than dogs?

  • Ken Womble
    20 November 2015 at 9:49 am - Reply

    Thanks for harshing my mellow, Descartes. Jesus.

  • Frank Graichen
    21 December 2015 at 9:19 pm - Reply

    In the 1650’s I suspect much of appreciation for diversity was unknown or under-appreciated given 21st century sympathies. My trouble comes in the form of those that still think this way in our day.\!