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Full title Plato and a Platypus Walk Into a Bar...: Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes [permalink]
Language English
Authors Daniel Klein and Thomas Cathcart
Publisher Penguin Books
Categories Humor and philosophy
Publication year 2008
Original publication year 2007
ISBN 978-0-14-311387-4 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 215
Synopsis

The book is divided into ten chapters, each dealing with a different area of philosophy. The chapters explain concepts concerning each area, interspersed with banter and jokes.

Review

As many people have observed, a session of jokes can often illuminate a subject more than hours of discussion can, and this book is an example of that. The book is essentially a string of jokes with banter to connect them and explain the concepts introduced in the jokes. The explanations themselves are light-hearted and full of puns. An example of a joke illustrating the difference between what philosophers call essential and accidental attributes:

"Why is an elephant big, hairy, and wrinkled?"

"Because if he was small, white, and round, he'd be an aspirin."

And another on skepticism and the scientific method (or inductive reasoning, if you will):

A scientist and his wife are out for a drive in the country. The wife says, "Oh look! Those sheep have been shorn."

"Yes," says the scientist. "On this side."

In the section on the philosophy of religion are also jokes, of course, and I found this Jewish one pretty funny:

Two women are sitting on a bench. After a while the first woman says, "Oy!"

The second woman replies, "Oy!"

The first woman says, "All right, enough about the children."

And a final one, on the relativity of time:

A snail was mugged by two turtles. When the police asked him what happened, he said, "I don't know. It all happened so fast."

Go read it if you've got time to kill.

Images Back of Plato and a Platypus Walk Into a Bar....Spine of Plato and a Platypus Walk Into a Bar....Front of Plato and a Platypus Walk Into a Bar....
Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • Philogaggin: An Introduction
  • I. Metaphysics
  • II. Logic
  • III. Epistemology
  • IV. Ethics
  • V. Philosophy of Religion
  • VI. Existentialism
  • VII. Philosophy of Language
  • VIII. Social and Political Philosophy
  • IX. Relativity
  • X. Meta-Philosophy
  • Summa Time: A Conclusion
  • Final Exam
  • Great Moments in the History of Philosophy
  • Glossary
  • Suggestions for Further Reading
  • Index

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