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Plato and a platypus walk into a bar. . . :…

Plato and a platypus walk into a bar. . . : understanding philosophy… (2006)

by Thomas Cathcart, Daniel Klein

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Showing 1-5 of 90 (next | show all)
Many of the jokes were good... That might be as positive as I can get with Cathcart and Klein's book [Plato and a Platypus walk into a Bar]. The touched on many subject in the Philosophy world (a meta-philosophy of sorts, not really according to the authors I just wanted to use that word), but I still didn't understand much of the notions of the some of the many facets of philosophy after reading each section. A better description/definition of each tenant would have led me to a better understanding than a very quick explanation and a corresponding joke. I will give them this, it could not have been easy finding jokes to help explain all the different parts of the philosophy world. It wasn't all bed, some of the jokes actually did what was intended, give a better understanding of philosophy, but in my experience that was not the case most of the time. It was entertaining however and quite a quick and easy read. So there is that. ( )
  Schneider | Mar 22, 2017 |
This proved to be exactly what I wanted—a light overview of some basic philosophical concepts. Just enough information to give me an idea of some of the broad categories, presented in an entertaining way. I have no background in philosophy, and was surprised at how much of it I had already encountered in my psychology and education studies, as well as in casual reading over the years. I borrowed the book from the library, but have bought a copy for future reference.
  SylviaC | Oct 24, 2016 |
A light, funny way to introduce yourself to the fundamentals of philosophy, or refresh what you were taught in school. I had a really hard time not reading a lot of this out loud to MT, and while he claimed prior knowledge of a few of the jokes, they were all new to me (I think, I don't remember jokes very well).

If you're looking for anything resembling an in-depth look at the different schools of philosophy, this isn't the book for you, but otherwise, I'd recommend it as both entertaining and informative. ( )
  murderbydeath | Oct 16, 2016 |
A wonderful, brief, summary and overview of philosophy through the usage of jokes. Written well, both with the jokes for its humor and how it pertains and explains philosophy, from the beginning up until the modern era. ( )
  BenKline | Aug 7, 2016 |
Six-word review: Wisdom is a fool in motley.

Extended review:

Do you think this is funny?

Two cows are standing in a field. One says to the other, "What do you think about this mad cow disease?"

"What do I care?" says the other. "I'm a helicopter."

There's humor in much of what I read, but it's usually of the cerebral variety, mild irony or absurdity, witty turns of phrase, that sort of thing; even Harry Dresden's wisecracks aren't usually laugh-out-loud funny. But this silly two-liner on page 120 just struck me as hilarious. If you're giggling too, then you and I have something in common.

If you think it's just dumb, well, never mind. People's senses of humor are pretty idiosyncratic, after all. There's a lot of supposed comedy that I just don't care for at all. But I loved this little book.

What that cow story has to do with existentialism may not be immediately apparent, but the authors will make it clear. It's their gift to be able to encapsulate the chief ideas of several branches of philosophy--metaphysics, logic, epistemology, ethics, and so on--and convey their essential qualities through jokes. Their approach is unabashedly entertaining, and I wish I'd had this light-hearted treatment on hand when I was a philosophy student; but it also rests on a very sound premise for which I've always had immense respect, namely, the efficacy of humor as a vehicle for truth: something cartoonists and satirists know very well.

Watch out, though: there are pop quizzes along the way and a three-point exam at the end. Resisting my native compulsions, I went on past it without completing the assignment. Instead I read the timeline of the history of philosophy, which set me off all over again.

I picked up this small orange-covered volume on a whim a few days ago, and it proved a nice break from far heavier stuff. My daytime sofa read is currently a very serious history of postwar Japan, and my bedtime novel is Adam Bede (1859), full of George Eliot's gently but deftly ironic observations on human nature, but nonetheless with a plot revolving around some deep and earnest characters who don't seem to see much humor in things. It was good for a change just to go ahead and laugh. By the time I got to the end and tried to read one of the stories aloud to my husband, I could hardly get the words out between gasps and tears. And it wasn't even that funny.

My father taught philosophy for 35 years. I know he would have loved this. He was fond of my all-time favorite quotation about philosophy (attributed to Feigl): "Philosophy is the disease for which it ought to be the cure." This book is a cure. ( )
3 vote Meredy | Jul 9, 2016 |
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Cathcart, ThomasAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Klein, Danielmain authorall editionsconfirmed
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To the memory of our philosophical grandfather GROUCHO MARX, who summed up our basic ideology when he said, "These are my principles; if you don't like them, I have others."
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0143113879, Paperback)

This New York Times bestseller is the hilarious philosophy course everyone wishes they’d had in school

Outrageously funny, Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar . . . has been a breakout bestseller ever since authors—and born vaudevillians—Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein did their schtick on NPR’s Weekend Edition. Lively, original, and powerfully informative, Plato and a Platypus Walk Into a Bar . . . is a not-so-reverent crash course through the great philosophical thinkers and traditions, from Existentialism (What do Hegel and Bette Midler have in common?) to Logic (Sherlock Holmes never deduced anything). Philosophy 101 for those who like to take the heavy stuff lightly, this is a joy to read—and finally, it all makes sense!

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(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:13 -0400)

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Teaches the principles and concepts of philosophy through one-liner jokes, vaudeville humor, cartoons, and limericks, in an irreverent introduction to the great philosophers and philosophical traditions, from Existentialism to Logic.

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