Does Santa Exist? A Philosophical Investigation

Eric Kaplan. Dutton, $20 (288p) ISBN 978-0-525-95439-2
Comedy writer, philosophy scholar, and coexecutive producer of the hit show The Big Bang Theory, Kaplan begins his elliptical examination of the ontology of Santa Claus by introducing readers to a conundrum he faced when his son began kindergarten: how to deal with other parents who didn’t want Kaplan’s son telling their children that Santa didn’t exist. Does he let his son spoil the illusion and potentially sacrifice his school friendships , or should he encourage him to go along with the myth in an effort to fit in with most of his peers? This simple question quickly unfolds into a much larger examination of perspective, and Kaplan brings in myriad branches of philosophy and other tools to tackle the slippery subjects of existence, duality, and rationality. Socratic dialogues, fairy tales, and humor (not to mention ,a brief examination of humor itself) enliven the discussion and keep the reader engaged. Even fans of The Big Bang Theory brand of humor may be surprised by the density of the conversations here, but Kaplan’s deft examination of a simple contradiction manages to be both entertaining and enlightening—often simultaneously. Regardless of how readers will answer Kaplan’s titular question after emerging from this philosophical rabbit hole, they’ll likely end up appreciating the journey. Agent: Simon Green, Creative Artists Agency. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/22/2014
Release date: 10/16/2014
Genre: Nonfiction
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Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-14-751642-8
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