Plato and a Platypus Walk Into a Bar by Thomas Cathcart & Daniel Klein : Mini Book Review

Plato and a Platypus

Plato and a Platypus

10 words or less: Fun. Like throwing a skipping stone over deep philosophical waters.

Long version : This book was a impulse buy at the local bookstore this weekend. Normally I only hit the bargain bins, but this book looked interesting and was reviewed well based on everything all over the jacket cover, so I grabbed at at face value.

It was a fun and breezy read. Just tapping on the cusps of philosophical ideas and ideologies, the authors take a few moments on each topic being serious, and turn right around and make a joke in contrasting boldface that illustrates the type of philosophy and/or topic being discussed.

For example, when talking about existentialism…
“The extentialists’ emphasis on facing the anxiety of death has given life to a new mini-industry, the hospice movement, founded on Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s twentieth-century bioethical philosophy that encourages the honest acceptance of death.
Customer in a restaurant: How do you prepare your chickens?
Cook: Oh, nothing special really. We just tell them they’re gonna die.

At the end of the 215 page book, the authors gently point to “suggested reading” list for those who found the shallow end fun and want to try something a little deeper next time. Kant, Hegel, Marx, Kierkegaard, Foucault, Hume, Locke and more are on the list, so there’s a fair chance someone starting on this book may just find something wonderful waiting for them should they choose to follow some of the abbreviated suggestions in the list.

This was a fun book that was pretty much philosophy 099. OK, maybe philosophy 101. A quick glance into the basics of philosophy, an overview of some major ideas, and a few nuggets to chew on. All easily digestible.

I’m probably going to head back and pick up their sequel “Heidegger and a Hippo walk through the pearly gates: Using Philosophy (and jokes!) to explain life, death, the afterlife, and everything else in between.” If nothing else, for the title alone!

Four out of five stars.

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