René Descartes (1596-1650) — best known for the saying “I think, therefore I am” — was one of France’s greatest philosophers, but that didn’t stop me from taking dreadful liberties with the man’s reputation just for the sake of a joke. Isn’t that what clerihews are for?
Descartes may be a respected historical figure, but today his own position on animal rights would put him at odds with many people. According to Wolfram’s ScienceWorld:
In Traité de l’homme (Treatise on Man) (1664) and Passions de l’âme (Passions of the Soul) (1649), he expounded the view that an animal was an automaton lacking both sensation and self-awareness, and that only man was endowed with a soul.
Descartes might have been a lovely little thinker, but you probably wouldn’t trust him to look after the family pet.