Michael's Reviews > Heidegger and a Hippo Walk Through Those Pearly Gates: Using Philosophy (and Jokes!) to Explore Life, Death, the Afterlife, and Everything in Between

Heidegger and a Hippo Walk Through Those Pearly Gates by Thomas Cathcart
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's review
Jan 12, 2010

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bookshelves: nonfiction-read
Read in January, 2010

The book provides a light-hearted look at the meaning of life and death as discussed by a number of philosophers, theologians, and scientists. Liberally illustrated with cartoons and jokes, it is best taken in small doses. I didn't find it as funny or as insightful as Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar, but it was a fun read. For someone with a limited exposure to philosophical thought, it might inspire further reading. I did enjoy and think well deserved the fun made of Heidegger's convoluted language (no better in German than in English translation), but I think that the treatment of Kierkegaard's thought was a bit simplistic, given the complexity of his writings and the dramatic evolution of his philosophy over the course of a fairly short life. I would add Kierkegaard's journals to the reading suggestions in the bibliography for a more nuanced view of his writings. Narrative jokes have fallen out of favor of late (a shame), so some of the ones included are chestnuts. I particularly enjoyed the chapter on scientific explorations of life extension and "immortality."
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