Metaphysics isn't ordinarily much of a laughing matter. But in the hands of acclaimed comedy writer and scholar Eric Kaplan, a search for the truth about old St. Nick becomes a deeply insightful, laugh-out-loud discussion of the way some things exist but may not really be there. Just like Santa and his reindeer. Even after we outgrow the jolly fellow, the essential paradox persists: There are some things we dearly believe in that are not universally acknowledged as real. In Does Santa Exist? Kaplan shows how philosophy giants Bertrand Russell and Ludwig Wittgenstein strove to smooth over this uncomfortable meeting of the real and unreal - and failed. From there he turns to mysticism's attempts to resolve such paradoxes, surveying Buddhism, Taoism, early Christianity, Theosophy and even the philosophers at UC Berkeley under whom he studied. Finally, this brilliant comic writer alights on - surprise! - comedy as the ultimate resolution of the fundamental paradoxes of life, using examples from The Big Bang Theory, Monty Python's cheese shop and many other pop-culture sources.
Kaplan delves deeper into what all this means, from how our physical brains work to his own personal confrontations with life's biggest questions: If we're all going to die, what's the point of anything? What is a perfect moment? What can you say about God? Or Santa?
Eric Kaplan's Does Santa Exist? is the funniest book of philosophy since ... well, ever -- Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons and Futurama Eric Kaplan is more than a talented comedy writer. He is a deep soul, an intellectual master, and a brilliant communicator of the subtleties of the intersections between faith and logic. He will have you laughing, thinking harder than you've ever thought, and falling in love with the process of intellectual exploration all over again. A masterpiece -- Mayim Bialik, PhD (neuroscience, UCLA), actress known for her role as Dr. Amy Farrah Fowler in The Big Bang Theory If you can put this book down, you should see a doctor. Kaplan's message burrows into the mind, beats up a few beliefs and then leaves with a triumphant bang -- Michael Gazzaniga, Professor of Psychology University of California Santa Barbara and Founder of the Cognitive Neuroscience Society
Eric Kaplan is an executive producer and writer for The Big Bang Theory. Previously he wrote for The Simpsons, Futurama and Flight of the Conchords. He graduated from Harvard and is currently completing his dissertation in philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley.