Review of Plato and a Platypus Walk Into a Bar
by Thomas Cathcart & Daniel Klein
Review by C.S. Clarke, Ph.D.
Plato and a Platypus Walk Into a Bar is highly entertaining, fast read that covers an astonishing range of philosophical issues with an economy of words. The authors manage their brevity by illustrating those issues with very apt stories, anecdotes and jokes. And the humor of their stories, anecdotes and jokes has sufficient range to appeal to a general audience. (If you don't like some of their jokes, don't worry -- they've got a million of 'em.)
But wait! The real burning philosophical question you want answered is this: why would you want to read a book about philosophy? I mean, really, this book may be funny but you can get lots of joke books that are funnier and don't make you learn serious stuff (like philosophy, for example).
I have just the answer for you. Learning philosophy can help you think better. It can help you understand why you think the way you do and give you options for expanding your possibilities. It can help you understand the ways in which others can influence and manipulate your thinking and how they may get you to believe things that are misleading, untrue, or damaging. It can help you make better judgments. It can help you influence other people's thinking and persuade them to your viewpoint. Learning philosophy can be very handy.
On its serious side, Plato and a Platypus Walk Into a Bar is a good introduction to the main concepts of philosophy. Its entertaining and humorous side makes learning philosophy enjoyable and much easier than a textbook.
And, if you are a student, the book may be an excellent companion to your textbook for a required philosophy class.
The authors have a website at http://www.platoandaplatypus.com/.