'Plato & A Platypus Walk Into A Bar' Teaches Readers About Philosophy Through Jokes

Jun 17, 2019

Editor's note: This conversation originally aired on November 27, 2009. 

Cover of 'Plato and a Platypus Walk Into a Bar: Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes.'

Tensions are high in the world today, and we could all use a little comic relief. While you may not think of philosophy as the likely source of levity, philosophers Daniel Klein and Tom Cathcart are hoping to change your mind. 

Klein and Cathcart originally met as philosophy students at Harvard. Their long friendship and interest in the field directly fueled their book, Plato and a Platypus Walk Into a Bar: Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes

When asked if there was a feeling in the industry that philsophy could be used as a device for humor, the co-authors are blunt in their reponses. 

"The short answer is no," says Cathcart, laughing.  

Klein continues, "They're a pretty grim bunch ... it's a pretty serious subject because it takes on the big issues, and it's only guys like us who find it funny. It's probably because we don't get philosophy. You've got lemons, you make lemonade."