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Dmitri: This clarifies everything we've been talking about.

Tasso: In what way?

Dmitri: What you call "philosophy." I call "a joke."

-Thomas Cathcart & Daniel Klein , Plato and a Platypus...


There is something of a risk attendant on such a funny book, that folks will miss the entirely serious point that it makes. This is, after all, the Age of Reason, the central promise of which is that simply by force of intellect men can arrive at certain truths about the world, that revelation comes from Reason rather than from faith. In secular Europe and among American intellectuals we see what can happen if you take this notion at face value. You end up estranged from God and sunk in a suicidal slough of despond. But in the Anglosphere we have been fortunate enough to reject such Rationalism from Jump Street and so have avoided the most deletirious effects for the most part. Indeed, the genius of Anglospheric philosophy--as well as the reason that all comedy can be considered conservative--is that we find the pretensions of philosophers, intellectuals, and their ilk to be laughable. It is in this sense that a short survey of all the schools of philosophy that treats each one as a subject for jokes can be located smack dab in the mainstream of the best Anglo-American philosophical thought and ought be considered quite profound in its own right. By all means, laugh along with Mr. Cathcart and Mr. Klein, but, please, be aware of the broader implications of your amusement.


(Reviewed:)

Grade: (A+)

  

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Humor
Philosophy
Thomas Cathcart Links:

    -BOOK SITE: Plato and a Platypus
    -ESSAY: The only constant: Before politicians utter one more word about change, they should hear what philosophers had to say about it. (Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein, January 13, 2008, LA Times)
    -PROFILE: Joculor, Ergo Sum (Harvard Magazine, May/June 2007)
    -PROFILE: Sharing laughs and a love of philosophy: Old friends from Harvard combine philosophy and humor in 'Plato and a Platypus,' the surprise hit of the book world (David Mehegan, August 15, 2007, Boston Globe)
    -AUDIO INTERVIEW: Joking, and Learning, About Philosophy (Liane Hansen, 5/13/07, Weekend Edition)
    -REVIEW: of Plato and a Platypus Walk Into a Bar… Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes by Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein (Tim Madigan, Philosophy Now)
    -REVIEW: of Plato and a Platypus (Orlando Sentinel)
    -REVIEW: of Plato and a Platypus (John Baldessari, Art Forum)
    -REVIEW: of Plato and a Platypus (Melanie Lauwers, Cape Cod Times)
    -REVIEW: of Plato and a Platypus (Cameron Hatch, Hatch Report)

Daniel Klein Links:

    -BOOK SITE: Plato and a Platypus
    -ESSAY: The only constant: Before politicians utter one more word about change, they should hear what philosophers had to say about it. (Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein, January 13, 2008, LA Times)
    -PROFILE: Joculor, Ergo Sum (Harvard Magazine, May/June 2007)
    -PROFILE: Sharing laughs and a love of philosophy: Old friends from Harvard combine philosophy and humor in 'Plato and a Platypus,' the surprise hit of the book world (David Mehegan, August 15, 2007, Boston Globe)
    -AUDIO INTERVIEW: Joking, and Learning, About Philosophy (Liane Hansen, 5/13/07, Weekend Edition)
    -REVIEW: of Plato and a Platypus Walk Into a Bar… Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes by Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein (Tim Madigan, Philosophy Now)
    -REVIEW: of Plato and a Platypus (Orlando Sentinel)
    -REVIEW: of Plato and a Platypus (John Baldessari, Art Forum)
    -REVIEW: of Plato and a Platypus (Melanie Lauwers, Cape Cod Times)
    -REVIEW: of Plato and a Platypus (Cameron Hatch, Hatch Report)

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