This is a TOTALLY off-topic post, so I apologize in advance to the list.
I was listening to National Public Radio and they had a segment on a new
book with the weird title of "Plato and a Platypus Walk into a bar . .
.Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes" by Thomas Cathcart and Daniel
Klein. After hearing the interview I bought the book, and after reading the
book I wanted to recommend it to my friends on the list.
The authors are former Philosophy majors who have taken the unorthodox
approach of writing an introductory book on philosophy that uses jokes to
illustrate various philosophical ideas and principles. The book covers a
broad range of topics, including ethics, religion, epistemology, and logic.
For example, in their section on "Logic", this brief discussion is followed
by a joke that makes it all clear:
THE "POST HOC ERGO PROPTER HOC" FALLACY
"After this, therefore because of this." -- The phrase describes the error
of assuming that because one thing follows another, that thing was caused by
An octogenarian man in a nursing home comes up to an elderly lady wearing
hot pink capri pants and says, "Today's my birthday!"
"Wonderful," she replies. "I bet I can tell you exactly how old you are."
The lady says, "Easy. Drop your pants." The man drops his pants.
"Okay," she says, "now drop your shorts."
The man does her bidding. She fondles him a moment and says, "You're
He says, "How did you know that?"
And she says, "You told me yesterday."
Here's another joke, also from the section on Logic, following their
discussion of inductive and deductive reasoning:
Holmes and Watson are on a camping trip. In the middle of the night Holmes
wakes up and gives Dr. Watson a nudge. "Watson," he says, "look up in the
sky and tell me what you see."
"I see millions of stars, Holmes," says Watson.
"And what do you conclude from that, Watson?"
Watson thinks for a moment. "Well," he says, "astronomically, it tells me
that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets.
Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in Leo. Horologically, I deduce
that the time is approximately a quarter past three. Meteorologically, I
suspect that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. Theologically, I see
that God is all-powerful, and we are small and insignificant. Uh, what does
it tell you, Holmes?"
"Watson, you idiot! Someone has stolen our tent!"
One last example, from their section on "Relativity":
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."
The book is delightful. Here's a link to it at Amazon.com, where they're
selling it (new) for under $12:
Again, sorry for the off-topic post.
- Tom -
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