Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar...: Understanding Philosophy through Jokes
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Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar...: Understanding Philosophy through Jokes

4.0 62
by Thomas Cathcart, Daniel Klein
     
 

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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.

Overview

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!

And now, you can read Daniel Klein's further musings on life and philosophy in Travels with Epicurus and Every Time I Find the Meaning of Life, They Change it

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“The zaniest bestseller of the year.”—The Boston Globe

“I laughed, I learned, I loved it.”—Roy Blount, Jr.

Boston Globe
The zaniest bestseller of the year.\
Roy Blount Jr.
I laughed, I learned, I loved it.\

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780143113874
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
06/24/2008
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
224
Sales rank:
144,503
Product dimensions:
4.90(w) x 6.90(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
“The zaniest bestseller of the year.”—The Boston Globe

“I laughed, I learned, I loved it.”—Roy Blount, Jr.

Meet the Author

Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein pursued the usual careers after majoring in philosophy at Harvard. Tom has worked with street gangs in Chicago, doctors at Blue Cross Blue Shield, and has dropped out of various divinity schools. Daniel has written several novels and nonfiction books as well as jokes for comedians like Flip Wilson and Lily Tomlin. Daniel Klein lives in Massachusetts, and Thomas Cathcart lives in New York City.

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4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 60 reviews.
AnnBKeller More than 1 year ago
I chuckled my way through this book. Anyone who believes philosophy is dull and better relegated to the musty halls of the previous century will be both surprised and delighted by Plato and a Platypus Walk Into A Bar. The book opens with a quotation from Groucho Marx, thus setting the tone for the future! What follows is a delightful comparison of age-old philosophy from various schools of thought worldwide to today's modern, confusing and often downright hilarious world. Included in the book are humorous cartoons from several artists, a glossary of philosophical terms and a timeline of great moments in the history of philosophy. I laughed and I learned a bundle. Plato and a Platypus Walk Into A Bar is a must for every librarian, scholar, student, professor or New Age theorist who ever blinked up at the bright sun and quietly asked the question, "Why?" Good for general reading and, in my humble opinion, a most worthy addition to one's permanent library.
getfreckled More than 1 year ago
If you're buying a book about Plato and a platypus, chances are, you don't need a read course on philosophy. I think this book is equally entertaining for academics who need basic references in philosophy as well as those who enjoy tidbits of half-witted jokes to understand complicated ideals like existentialism. The book is divided up into easy-to-understand sections, but I would not call this an authoritative text on philosophy. It's sometimes funny, sometimes interesting, and sometimes worth a minute or two. I think it's a perfect book for the bathroom, to be honest. I would not sit down and read this book all in one sitting and it's not Cliff Notes for those being tested on philosophy. But if you want something conversational, entertaining, and hate subscribing to magazines, this book is for you. Buy it for your professor in the humanities, buy it for a student who could use a little help in the area, buy it for someone who reads the New York Times but not the New Yorker.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I took a philosophy class in college and fell asleep almost everyday but always regretted not understanding philosophical ideas that are common place. This book explained them in a fun and interesting way that was not only comprehensible but did a pretty good job of keeping me awake. It's probably not the best book for someone who's already a philosophy expert but for someone who is just trying to figure it out, it's a good choice. Also, the jokes are pretty funny at times.
wishywash27 More than 1 year ago
I loved reading this book- it was funny; I laughed at least once per page. I read a few pages over several sittings, so perhaps that accounts for my feeling of not having actually learned all that much about philosophy, but I would recommend it to everyone looking for some entertainment, and I would still recommend it to someone who is on the prowl for some clarification of philosophic concepts, for they may have far better luck than I did!
Brigand More than 1 year ago
I am not presently reading this book perse but my boyfriend is, right next to me and laughing out loud on almost every page. So no, I'm not reading it but I am having the hilarious jokes read to me minute by minute. I will read the book when he is done but I feel like I am already involved. What a hilarious and wonderous little collection of insights and explinations this book has - I feel very secure reviewing it as yes indeed I have heard almost every one!
Maximillian More than 1 year ago
Philosophy is so hard to get through, so this little book with its humor made some things clearer. I'm not sure I'll remember much, but I did appreciate the glossary and index at the end of the book for reference. I remember struggling with a general Philosophy course in college. This book would be a good addition to a syllbus.
mary414 More than 1 year ago
What is ' understanding?' After reading this book you are as far from understanding philosophy as you ever were but you will be very curious to find out more. Your faith in the human species will be a little bit restored. It is a first class feel good book. Keep it close to you for every day reference.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Philosophical conversationalists, Dimitri and Tasso, have been ordained by Cathcart and Klein to guide us through a brilliantly written tome-free survey of philosophy as viewed through the lens of a 21st century skeptic. Plato and a Platypus opens the doors to the various schools of philosophy employing whimsical contemporary illustrations that at once surprise and inform the reader. There are startlingly delightful cartoons, too. Each page offers up an intro to a serious speech, an ice-breaker for a cocktail party, or an intellectual game for a baby shower. The reader is at once compelled to both keep reading and to cut away to share a passage with a friend. (That¿s what literate people do when tweaked--they read to one another. I suggest it be limited to people over the age of 6, though my 5-year-old grandson became intrigued when I shared a tongue-in-cheek segment.) Yet, this book is far from one big joke. It is a scholarly work, complete with timeline and glossary, both of which are laced with humor that belie the academic content. It would be a rational text for many a college class. Critical thinking comes to mind. So do religion, ethics, math, logic, pragmatism, and English composition. If you buy one, buy two. This little reader is the perfect gift book for celebrations and simple pleasures. It is ideal for the friendly neighborhood philosopher. It is also a fine open-anywhere for moments when you want to think deeply without the weight of war or taxes. It is a definite buy and keep book. Highly recommended.
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BlessTheReal More than 1 year ago
Philosophy made fun. Filled with funny and clever jokes. Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein work great together. I will be reading their other books as well hoping they are as good or better.
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slimikin More than 1 year ago
I'm just far enough away from the philosophy classes I took in college that I don't really want to delve into individual works by each philosopher, but I'm still just as fascinated by and interested in their ideas as I ever was. What, then, to do? Pick up Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar, of course! It was just as amusing as I'd hoped, and a rather surprisingly adept and lucid presentation of many of the main ideas throughout the history of philosophy. I would've appreciated a bit more information on Eastern philosophy and the ideas behind feminism, but this slim volume does an excellent job of presenting philosophy as encountered by those in the authors'---and my own---day-to-day Western existence.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago