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Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar: Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes

3.79  ·  Rating Details ·  8,987 Ratings  ·  1,169 Reviews

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 P
Kindle Edition, 230 pages
Published (first published 2006)
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  • Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar... Understanding Philoso... by Thomas Cathcart
    Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar... Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes
    Release date: Jun 24, 2008
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    AndreaSoler Sure you can. I bougth it on a bookshop and read it. It's quite a funny expirience.
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    Community Reviews

    (showing 1-30)
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    Tieu uyen
    Là thế này, một hôm 2 anh tác giả buồn đời vì hết tiền, vào quán bar tán láo và làm li giải sầu. lúc ngà ngà, anh Tom nói với anh Dan, "anh biết triết học là gì không?" "là dùng đám ngôn từ phức tạp để nói về những điều đơn giản." "Yeap, tôi có kế hoạch kiếm tiền để dành cho về hưu đây, tham gia ko?". Dan thì đang chật vật về tiền, nghe thế như bắt được vàng: "kế hoạch gì?" "dựa trên việc chúng ta có cái mác tốt nghiệp triết học Harvard và anh chuyên đi viết truyện cười." "ồ thế là chúng ta sưu ...more
    Ryan Louis
    Jul 04, 2016 Ryan Louis rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
    Although I appreciate the philosophical crash course, couldn't the authors consider more jokes (a rough eye-balling might equate about 90% of them) that aren't at the expense of women?

    I suppose their section on "Feminist Philosophy" aims to answer nay-sayers. No answers for this reader, though. I don't appreciate jokesters who hide behind a cloud of "politically incorrect feminism" then chastise an audience they purport won't get their jokes.


    Not sure why it's still so acceptable to tell "Je
    Sarah Sammis
    Oct 13, 2007 Sarah Sammis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: released
    Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar... Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes by Thomas Catchart and Daniel Klein is a beautifully constructed and deceptively short book. It's one of those books that is nice to hold, nice to flip through and nice to read random snippets from. The jokes come in handy for the random reading approach.

    But... this book is also a very solid introduction to philosophy and logic. If read slowly and thoroughly, one can learn a solid foundation of the important principal
    Nandakishore Varma
    Jokes can be highly philosophical. I remember a famous comedy scene from a Malayalam movie, where a guy is bemoaning that he is ugly. He had been switched at birth: so his consolation is - "But this is not the real me: the real me is fair and handsome, living somewhere else with his foster parents..."

    A classic example of a philosophical answer to the question - "Who/ what art thou?"

    This book is filled with similar jokes, which the authors link to various philosophical schools of thought. Some of
    Feb 17, 2008 Andy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Recommends it for: amateur philosophers
    Recommended to Andy by: My mother
    This is definitely a "light read." It touches upon a lot of different philosophical ideas, sprinkled with jokes (most funny, some hilarious) that bear some link to the topic at hand. For example, in a discussion of existential angst, we get this zinger (p.120):
    Norman began to hyperventilate when he saw the doctor. "I'm sure I've got liver disease."
    "That's ridiculous," said the doctor. "You'd never know if you had liver disease. There's no discomfort of any kind."
    "Exactly!" said Norman. "Those a
    Jan 14, 2009 Chris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: humor, philosophy
    Like most Liberal Arts undergrads, I took a few philosophy courses while I was in college. In fact, my sophomore philosophy final has the distinction of being the only one I have ever actually slept through. My roommate woke me up at 11:30 and said, "Didn't you have a final this morning?" I don't remember anything between that moment and arriving in the professor's office, apologizing profusely.

    The point is, philosophy never really made an impact on me. I mean, I get it - Philosophy is supposed
    Petra X smoke fish no cigar
    The jokes are a bit lame and the main premises of each philosopher are really skirted over. Nonetheless, a good gag-gift for a student embarking on a philosophy class, for any business-type person you can't think what to buy and to put in the bathroom, to glance at occasionally. (And then to come out and bore everyone with the latest old codswallop joke you've read).
    Sep 03, 2011 Snowfire rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
    This book has two critical flaws: it's not funny and it's not informative. This... is bad. I'd be fine with funny jokes that are kind of irrelevant in a humor-focused book, or not-all-that-funny jokes that nevertheless illustrated a philosophical point well in a "make learning fun!" textbook. Yet this book manages neither. It really should not have sold as well as it did.

    Shame, because this *kind* of book is totally up my alley. Just... it's such a shallow overview of philosophies, and often tim
    I was neither stunned nor utterly disappointed by this one. It's essentially a book full of some pretty awful jokes (lots of groaners in this one, folks) that will resonate most with those with a background in philosophy. It definitely will not teach the newbie/uninitiated enough about the various philosophical disciplines and schools to be able to use that knowledge in any intelligent manner in a conversation at the local bar or philosophy meet up. Nevertheless, this was a fairly quick, light-h ...more
    Feb 03, 2008 Anita rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    Love this book! Checked it out from the library but going to buy it for sure.

    Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein are Harvard philosophy majors who understand that the rest of us don't know what the hell Nietzsche is talking about. They break the discipline down into its major strands, mixing clever and comical descriptions with hilarious jokes that show the true essence of each philosophy. Read below to see what I mean:

    Phenomenology- understanding the human experience as it is lived rather than obj
    Philippe Malzieu
    How to explain the success of philosophy? The philosophers became stars of the mediae. They have an opinion on all the subjects. Their books are sold well.
    In France, there are at least about ten monthly magazines which speak about it, and often well. They broach banal subjects of quotidian life and they analyze thus by using from Plato to Heidegger. It is undoubtedly the origin of success.
    In our society in lack of references, the readers seeks values which make sense. To speak philosophy start
    Thanh Nguyen
    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
    Aug 22, 2010 Marvin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: non-fiction, humor
    An eighty year old woman burst into the men's room at the retirement home. She holds her clenched fist in the air and announces "Anyone who can guess what I have in my hand can have sex with me tonight"!

    An old man in the back shouts "An elephant."

    The old woman thinks for a moment and says "Close enough!"

    I wish I had this fast and easy read when I took my first college philosophy class. The professor droned through the subject like he was on downers (he probably was) and the only thing of substan
    Oct 17, 2008 Doug rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    This delivers all that it promises. On Existentialism:
    you haven't lived until you think about death all the time".

    Customer in a restaurant: How do you prepare your chickens?
    Cook: Oh, nothing special really. We just tell them they're gonna die. Joke:>)
    Pg 125

    On the philosophy of religion:

    Jesus was walking through the streets when he noticed a crowd of people throwing stones at an adulteress. Jesus said/"Let whosoever is without sin cast the first stone." Suddenly a rock flew through the air.
    Sep 27, 2008 Joanne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    Recommends it for: Philosophers-in-training and gophers.
    Recommended to Joanne by: Mom
    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
    Teijo Aflecht
    Nov 18, 2015 Teijo Aflecht rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    I thought it was a rather funny limited Philosophy 101. The jokes were woven into explanatory portions for the most part, although sometimes there was too much joke and not enough narration. The jokes were right down my alley though, usually "stupid" (certainly if you ask my less-amused partner) and containing a relatively simple punchline, but they reflected the philosophical ideas very well.
    Jul 12, 2016 Pelin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: non-fiction
    Bazı fıkraları beğendim, felsefe temeline dair bilgimi de tazelemiş oldum, hatta çoğu kitabın tam olarak anlatamadığı "ding an sich" ve " koan" gibi kavramları daha iyi oturttum. Ama bazı fıkralar doğaları gereği çok cinsiyetçi geldi bana. Neofeminist fıkrada bile eşitlik değil "zeki sarışın" olgusu vardı. Yine de fikri beğendiğim ve akılda kalıcı bulduğum için diğer kitaba da bir şans vereceğim.
    Rosie Nguyễn
    Mar 16, 2015 Rosie Nguyễn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    The book is about philosophy. And I didn't understand a thing. But I laughed a lot. Guess it's enough for a good book, yah?
    Oct 17, 2016 Jadi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Cool book to read but you should have prior knowledge about the concepts to enjoy the book. It is not an educational book IMO.
    May 13, 2009 William rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Life is essentially absurd, and philosophy is not far behind.

    That seems to be the impression one gets from reading "Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar", by Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein, who deliver a quick survey of western philosophy using jokes. Yes, those stupid, absurd expressions of illogic that can also be profound and meaningful.

    From Metaphysics to Meta-Philosophy, Cathcart and Klein explain the simple nuances and wrinkles of thought. Each philosophical concept gets its own punch
    Dũng Nguyễn
    Cũng được!

    Mình bắt đầu cuốn này với kỳ vọng hơi cao: trước đó đã biết tới sách qua mấy đứa bạn, rồi được recommend đọc từ một thành viên trong nhóm đọc sách của mình.

    Plato và con thú mỏ vịt bước vào quán bar, như tên gọi: Hiểu Triết học thông qua truyện cười. Nhưng như một review ở trên này, dường như tiêu đề theo hướng ngược lại thì đúng hơn: Hiểu truyện cười thông qua triết học. 2 tác giả lướt qua về rất nhiều nhánh trong triết học, mỗi nhánh đều có một hai câu chuyện nhằm diễn giải cho người
    Jan 08, 2016 Álvaroberc rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Un somero repaso por las principales preguntas de la filosofía. La mayoría las comprenderemos entre carcajadas, desgraciadamente, por algunas pasan de puntillas. No todo puede ser sencillo.

    Un libro para manosear, subrayar y tener siempre cerca.
    Dec 30, 2013 Timothy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    It's a lot easier to learn something tough when you are joking around... your mind is too distracted to know it is picking up knowledge along the way.
    Bashir Alsamani
    Jan 21, 2016 Bashir Alsamani rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    كتاب مسلي يوضح بعض المفاهيم الفلسفية على مر التاريخ في شكل نكات.
    Nguyễn Quang Vũ
    Triết học có vẻ khô khan. Ở Việt Nam, với cách giảng dạy chung ở các trường đại học, thì triết học không chỉ khô khan mà còn chẳng có nhiều ý nghĩa. Vì chủ yếu, ở Việt Nam, mọi thứ được học chủ yếu nhằm đề cao tính đúng đắn của Karl Marx :D

    "Plato và con thú mỏ vịt bước vào quán bar" là một cuốn sách kỳ lạ về triết học. Nó đề cập đến các trường phái hoặc lý luận triết học theo hướng hài hước thông qua các câu chuyện cười. Từ "siêu hình học", "logic học", "triết học tôn giáo", "chủ nghĩa hiện sinh
    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
    Waco Glennon
    Feb 28, 2016 Waco Glennon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    This is a fun book. This is a funny book. Friends got regaled with jokes all while I was enjoying this.

    The premise is this: Philosophy has hundreds of branches. These branches, all of them, can be elucidated by studying jokes. The book is organized into various chapters of philosophical categories: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Natural Language, Religion...etc. The authors would tell a joke and use it to explain a tenet of some philosopher.

    And it works. The jokes help. I will say this though, som
    Introduction to philosophy with a joke on every page. Read it a while ago, can't remember any of the philosophy but I remember a joke about Moses and Jesus playing golf which I thought was rather good.

    (view spoiler)
    Feb 29, 2016 Reggia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: read-nonfiction
    A new favorite. This little book is not a deep philosophical probe, after all, there is that small poke at philosophy itself at the end. But it is told with humor, as with the rest of the book's philosophical look at logic, ethics, religion, existentialism and more. Jokes are spread throughout the book to teach the concepts -- a strategy that worked well for me. I recognized a few of them, and others seemed tailor-made just for this purpose of relaying a point to others. A small and very enjoyab ...more
    Mar 31, 2008 Blendi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
    HaHaHa!!! :):)

    This books makes you laugh really loud and has some of the best clean jokes ever. It is a very light read and easily makes you think about real things. If you like philosophy and don't mind talking about grand ideas or try to ask the eternal questions like:"Why we are here ?" or similar things you will not find it in this book but you are guaranteed a good read and some fun in the process while educating yourself or at least refresh philosophical concepts you might have forgotten
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    Freud Puns? 2 17 Jul 23, 2016 06:50AM  
    Favourite jokes 3 50 Nov 24, 2012 03:06PM  
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    Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein wrote the bestselling Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar: Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes, which will be translated into more than a dozen languages. Not bad for a couple of philosophy majors from Harvard who tried on various careers after graduation. Tom worked with street gangs in Chicago, doctors at Blue Cross and Blue Shield, and dropped in and out of ...more
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    “Some have argued that because the universe is like a clock, there must be a Clockmaker. As the eighteenth-century British empiricist David Hume pointed out, this is a slippery argument, because there is nothing that is really perfectly analogous to the universe as a whole, unless it's another universe, so we shouldn't try to pass off anything that is just a part of this universe. Why a clock anyhow? Hume asks. Why not say the universe is analogous to a kangaroo? After all, both are organically interconnected systems. But the kangaroo analogy would lead to a very different conclusion about the origin of the universe: namely, that it was born of another universe after that universe had sex with a third universe. ” 22 likes
    “Sorting out what's good and bad is the province of ethics. It is also what keeps priests, pundits, and parents busy. Unfortunately, what keeps children and philosophers busy is asking the priests, pundits and parents, "Why?” 5 likes
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