Friday, December 25, 2015

Beginning ~ by philogagging

Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar...: Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes ~ by Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein, 2007
Philogagging: An Introduction
Dimitri:  If Atlas holds up the world, what holds up Atlas?
Tasso:  Atlas stands on the back of a turtle.
Dimitri:  But what does the turtle stand on?
Tasso:  Another turtle.
Dimitri:  And what does that turtle stand on?
Tasso:  My dear Dimitri, it's turtles all the way down!
This bit of ancient Greek dialogue perfectly illustrates the philosophical notion of infinite regress, a concept that comes up when we ask if there is a First Cause — of life, of the universe, of time and space, and most significantly, of a Creator.
A bit long for the "beginning" of the book, but necessary to give a feel for it.  So what's it about?  This:
Lively, original, and powerfully informative, this book is a not-so-reverent crash course through the great philosophical thinkers and traditions, from Existentialism (What do Hegel and Bette Midler have in common?) to Logic (Sherlock Holmes never deduced anything).  Philosophy 101 for those who like to take the heavy stuff lightly, this is a joy to read — and finally, it all makes sense!
It covers ten categories of philosophy:
  1. Metaphysics
  2. Logic
  3. Epistemology
  4. Ethics
  5. Philosophy of Religion
  6. Existentialism
  7. Philosophy of Language
  8. Social and Political Philosophy
  9. Relativity
  10. Meta-Philosophy
I'm probably the only one here who majored in philosophy in college.  I even taught Ethics at Tennessee Wesleyan, as an adjunct.  If I like this book, I'll have to explore their others:

Heidegger and a Hippo Walk Through Those Pearly Gates: Using Philosophy (and Jokes!) to Explore Life, Death, the Afterlife, and Everything in Between ~ by Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein, 2009

Aristotle and an Aardvark Go to Washington: Understanding Political Doublespeak Through Philosophy and Jokes ~ by Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein, 2008

Gilion at Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Fridays.  Click here for today's Mister Linky.

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