A Collection of Philosophy Humor


Gerald Dworkin, distinguished professor of philosophy emeritus at UC Davis, has put together another volume of philosophical humor, Philosophy: A Commonplace Book, Volume II. It’s available as an e-book here (as is the first volume).

The aim of the book is “to collect witty, entertaining, humorous, clever, insightful, brief remarks about, or relevant to, or within philosophy.”

Some samples:

I do not agree with Plato, but if anything could make me do so, it would be Aristotle’s arguments against him. — Bertrand Russell

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[G.E.M.] Anscombe one said to [A.J.] Ayer, “You know, if you didn’t talk so fast, no one would think you were so clever.” Ayer rapidly replied, “And if you didn’t talk so slowly, no one would think you were so very wise.”  — Jonathan Glover

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We feel an affinity with a certain thinker because we agree with him; or because he shows us what we were already thinking; or because he shows us in a more articulate form what we were already thinking; or because he shows us what we were on the point of thinking; or what we would sooner or later have thought; or what we would have thought much later if we hadn’t read it now; or what we would have been likely to think but never would have thought if we hadn’t read it now; or what we would have liked to think but never would have thought if we hadn’t read it now. — Lydia Davis

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Justin Weinberg: As it turns out, you can make the same Heraclitus joke twice.
Matthew Smith: As it turns out, you can make the same Heraclitus joke twice.
Justin Weinberg: You can say that again.
David Grober-Morrow: At least it’s also possible to make different Heraclitus jokes. Parmenides jokes are all the same.
David Grober-Morrow: I’ve been trying to come up with a Zeno joke, but I can never quite get to the punch line.
Justin Weinberg: David, I was halfway to saying the same thing when I saw that you had beat me to it.
David Boonin: I doubt there are any good Pyrrho jokes.
Eric Wiland: Stoic jokes aren’t supposed to make you laugh.
Mark Alfano: Now you’re just being cynical.
Justin Weinberg: I have a list of Euthyphro jokes, but I can’t tell whether they make me laugh because they’re funny or that they’re funny because they make me laugh.
David Boonin: You already know some Meno jokes even if you don’t realize it.
David Boonin: And the Sisyphus jokes are endless.
David Grober-Morrow: Trojan jokes seem funny at first, but there’s almost always something offensive in them.

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Get it here.

 

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