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Daniel Klein and Thomas Cathcart

They Said It Couldn’t Be Done: Illustrating Philosophical Ideas with Jokes!

For anyone who has ever tried to plow through the densest works in the history of Western philosophy, there is good news: It can all be better understood with wacky jokes! Yes! Had you known, you could have saved all that money you paid your roommate to write your philosophy term paper.

Danny Klein and Tom Cathcart have been best friends for over sixty years, having studied philosophy at Harvard together in the last millennium. Klein has written comedy for Lily Tomlin, Flip Wilson, and others and published scores of fiction and nonfiction books—from thrillers to entertaining philosophical books, such as his London Times bestseller, Travels with Epicurus, and Every Time I Find the Meaning of Life, They Change It. Cathcart studied theology and managed healthcare organizations before linking up with Klein to write Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar: Understanding Philosophy through Jokes. They followed up with Heidegger and a Hippo Walk through Those Pearly Gates, and I Think, Therefore I Draw: Understanding Philosophy Through Cartoons. Cathcart is also the author of The Trolley Problem, or Would You Throw the Fat Guy Off the Bridge?

Klein and Cathcart will share the startling insights that got their book, Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar, turned down by forty publishers. (Number 41 bought it and, according to them, a lot of dumb luck got it on to the New York Times best-seller list.) Their Lyceum talk will take us on a whirlwind tour of the history of philosophy, particularly the philosophy of Marx (Groucho that is). Their talk could also be called, “How to Monetize a 1961 Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy in Today’s Global Economy.” If you’ve ever wondered about the connection between Nietzsche’s “will to power” and sauerkraut, this is the talk for you.

Moderator: Linda Field

Linda Field earned a BA in Philosophy and English from Brooklyn College, and an MEd from Antioch University. She enjoyed a rewarding twenty-five year career as a school teacher. Field lives in Peterborough with her husband Bryan and their hedonistic labradoodle, Teddy.


Sponsored by The Verney Foundation.



Sponsored by The Verney Foundation
Lecture Audio