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Plato and a Platypus Walk Into a Bar...: Understanding Philosophy Through Jokesby Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein
Synopses & Reviews
Here's a lively, hilarious, not-so-reverent crash course through the great philosophical traditions, schools, concepts, and thinkers; it's Philosophy 101 for everyone who knows not to take all this heavy stuff too seriously. Some included Big Ideas are Philosophy of Religion (a priest and a rabbi are stranded on a desert island...), Existentialism (what do Hegel and Bette Midler have in common?), Ethics and Aesthetics (a dog and a cat are sitting in this tree...), Language ("It depends what your definition of is is"), and much more. Finally — it all makes sense!
"I laughed, I learned, I loved it!" Roy Blount Jr.
A humorous philosophical investigation into the existence of Santaand#151;from a co-executive producer ofand#160;The Big Bang Theory, the #1 sitcom on televisionand#160;
Metaphysics isnand#8217;t ordinarily much of a laughing matter. But in the hands of acclaimed comedy writer and scholar Eric Kaplan, a search for the truth about old St. Nick becomes a deeply insightful, laugh-out-loud discussion of the way some things exist but may not really be there. Just like Santa and his reindeer.
Even after we outgrow the jolly fellow, the essential paradox persists: There are some things we dearly believe in that are not universally acknowledged as real. Inand#160;Does Santa Exist?and#160;Kaplan shows how philosophy giants Bertrand Russell and Ludwig Wittgenstein strove to smooth over this uncomfortable meeting of the real and unrealand#151;and failed. From there he turns to mysticismand#8217;s attempts to resolve such paradoxes, surveying Buddhism, Taoism, early Christianity, Theosophy, and even the philosophers at UC Berkeley under whom he studied. Finally, this brilliant comic writer alights onand#151;surpriseand#151;comedy as the ultimate resolution of the fundamental paradoxes of life, using examples fromand#160;The Big Bang Theory, Monty Pythonand#8217;s cheese shop sketch, and many other pop-culture sources.
Finally Kaplan delves deeper into what this means, from how our physical brains work to his own personal confrontations with lifeand#8217;s biggest questions: If weand#8217;re all going to die, whatand#8217;s the point of anything? What is a perfect moment? What can you say about God? Or Santa?
Teaches philosophy through one-liner jokes, vaudeville humor, cartoons, and limericks.
About the Author
Tom Cathcart and Daniel Klein pursued the usual careers after majoring in philosophy at Harvard. Tom worked with street gangs in Chicago, doctors at Blue Cross and Blue Shield, and dropped in and out of various divinity schools. He lives with his wife on Cape Cod. Dan has written jokes for various comedians including Flip Wilson and Lily Tomlin. He lives with his wife in the Berkshires. Together, they are authors of the politically incorrect book of daily affirmations, Macho Meditations.
Table of Contents
Philogagging: an introduction — Metaphysics — Logic — Epistemology — Ethics — Philosophy of religion — Existentialism — Philosophy of language — Social and political philosophy — Relativity — Meta-philosophy — Summa time: a conclusion.
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