A philosophy webcomic about the inevitable anguish of living a brief life in an absurd world. Also Jokes

Early Wittgenstein Becomes Late Wittgenstein

"on second thought, the entire history of philosophy is stupid."

What Came First, the Chicken or the Egg?

Egg came first fyi. Solved.

A Very Scientific Birthday

Kurt Gödel, entering the frame "wait no, wish for a set of axioms that are both complete and consistent, please!

More Parmesan?

Seriously though generally speaking restaurants shouldn't let customers make decisions about the food. They don't know what to do as well as the chef, that's why they are there.

The Emperor's New Clothes

"There are no fact, only interpretations" is such a funny quote coming from Nietzsche because his philosophy itself has been subject to some of the worst interpretations of all time.

Wittgenstiein vs Socrates

Some beautiful day in the distant future, the project of philosophy will be complete. It will only occur when a great person arises, and through careful study of all past philosophers figures out how to become the most annoying person to ever live. Only then can humanity finally rest.

500th Comic

Seriously though thanks for the support over the years.

World Championship Philosophy

Foucault was definitely using some beads for assistance when he wrote Discipline and Punish, that's all I'm going to say.

Philosophy Strike!

"We are still allowed to do philosophy in our spare time though, right?" "As long as it doesn't benefit our employers, then...well, although...wait a minute GOD damnit shut up!"

On The Usefulness of Philosophy

Carnap: "Hey, do you guys ever get the feeling that everything we are doing is totally pointless? "

Wittgenstein: "What do you mean, Carnap, like that life is pointless?"

Carnap: "No Wittgenstein, worse than that: what if...philosophy is pointless!?"

Carnap: "What if all of our arguments are just mental masturbation, and empirical science is the only thing capable of generating real knowledge?"

Wittgenstein: "Don't be stupid, of course philosophy is useful."

Carnap: "How so?"
Wittgenstein: "Without philosophy, how else could we ever determine whether or not we needed philosophy?"

Carnap: "That is true."
Wittgenstein: "Think next time before you say something."
"Also, who else is every going to figure out whether or not chairs exists? Scientists? Not a chance."

Philosopher's Cookoff

Host: "Welcome back to Philosopher's Cookoff, where philosophers try to create the best dish. Let's get back to the action. "

Host: "Hume seems to struggling with his risotto, I'm not sure if the rice will cook in time."

Host: "Meanwhile Wittgenstein just added, well something to his soup. I didn't see what it was but it came out of a box labeled “beetles”. "

Host: "And the Buddha seems to be not doing much of anything. I can't tell if he's panicked or has reached a higher state of enlightenment. "

Host: "Alright, time is up, let's see what the judges think."

Judge: "Hume, the dish is seasoned well, but your rice is way under cooked. "

Hume: "Yes, i took a risk, the dish takes 40 minutes to cook, i tried to cook it in 20. I was hoping the laws of physics might have suddenly changed."

Judge: "Buddha, what happened? You aren't presenting a dish? "

Buddha: "Yes, it is a metaphor for how desire leads to suffering, and we must empty ourselves of desire to achieve a higher state of being."
Buddha: "Also, i lost track of time and burned my souffle. "

Judge: "Wittgenstein? Where to begin... this tastes absolutely disgusting."

Second Judge: "Yeah, i agree, this is disgusting, what is in this?"

Wittgenstein: "Ahh yes, but when each of us say something tastes "disgusting", there is no way to know if we are all experiencing the same sensation."

Wittgenstein: "So while you've both learned to use the word "disgusting" to successfully navigate social situations and participate in language games.."

Wittgenstein:: "...internally you might be feeling different tastes, even pleasant ones, so the dish might be good!"

Judge: "No, i'm pretty sure it's just bad."
"When you think about it though 'you are a terrible cook, Wittgenstein' is just a move in a language game..."

Fireworks and a Theory of Language

Wittgenstein: "Hey Russell, i just got some fireworks, you want to set them off with me? "
Russell: "Obviously, Wittgenstein. "

Russell: "Whoa, whoa, Wittgenstein, what are you doing? It says “not for indoor” use."
Wittgenstein: "Exactly, which means it's fine."
Russell: "What?! No, it means it's not fine, hence the word “not”."

Russell: "See, this is a denotative statement about a state of affairs in the world. Namely, that these fireworks are unsafe to use indoors."

Wittgenstein: "No, no, no. Language doesn't work that way. Each speech act takes place in the context of a given social understanding."

Wittgenstein: "They know people will only use fireworks indoors that are actually safe indoors, so they put the label on so they don't get sued. Thus, the label actually means the firework is safe for indoor use."

Wittgenstein: "See, look at this firework. It doesn't have the warning, despite clearly being less safe. "

Wittgenstein: "Understand the particular language game that you are situated in, not grasping the meaning of words, is the key to successfully understanding language and navigating through the complex social fabric of our lives."
Russell: "Alright, i guess that makes sense, sort of..."

"ten minutes later..."

Wittgenstein, looking at the house, which as burned down: "Okay, but I still think the general theory is correct..."
Look, the way science works in practice is that theories are based on the entire body of knowledge within a community, no one result can disprove...

Philosophy Anonymous

Socrates: "Hello, my name is Socrates, and i am a philosophy addict. "

Socrates: "But then again, what really IS an addiction?"
Wittgenstein: "I think it's any compulsive activity."

Socrates: "Ahh, but what is the actual difference between compulsion and genuine willing?"
Wittgenstein: "Well..."

Aquinas: "Alright everyone, settle down, that's enough of that. Wittgenstein, your turn to speak."

Wittgenstein: "I've been philosophy free for five years, but last night i had a relapse. I had some friends over to watch sports..."

Wittgenstein: "I just kept asking them to try to come up with a definition that includes all games and excludes all non-games. Before I knew it I had developed a new theory of language."

Schopenhauer: "I too had a relapse. I was at a restaurant and I overheard someone telling their date that all morality is obviously subjective."

Aquinas: "So what did you do, Schopenhauer?"
Schopenhauer: "I pushed him down the stairs! Ha."
Aquinas: "you...what?"

Schopenhauer: "Yeah, and her too because she was chewing too loud. Wait...this is rageaholics right?"

PERSON: "You...what?"
"Am I addicted to pushing people down the stairs? Well, that all depends, define 'stairs'."

Desert Island Philosophy

Description: four philosophers are on a desert island.

Thomas Hobbes: Well, we really have a problem. We've crashed on this island and i don't see much food around."

Kierkegaard: "Yes, we do have a problem..." 

Kierkegaard: "...what is the meaning of life?"

Descartes: "What? That's not our problem Kierkegaard, our problem is that we need to establish one certain fact on which to build our framework of knowledge, otherwise how do we even know we are on a desert island at all?"

Wittgenstein: "That's not our problem, Descartes."

Wittgenstein: "Our problem is that “we have no food”, is a negative fact, which we can't empirically verified--, because we can't do that without observing that there are no further facts to observe, which is impossible."

Descartes: "No, Wittgenstein, once we ground our-"

Hobbes, shouting: "Everyone shut up! Do you idiots not understand how dire the situation is? If we don't form a society we will all be in a war of all against all, and certainly starve."

Descartes: "Ahh, I see, Hobbes. So you are saying our problem is how do we form a new society based on rational principles?"

Hobbes: "Exactly. I suggest we form a constitutional monarchy."

Descartes: "But who will be the Monarch?"

Hobbes, waving a large stick at the others: "Isn't it obvious? The one with the stick is the Monarch. Now get to work looking for food!"
"But how do you justify your idea that we all need to follow the man with the stick?" "I'll give you a one guess..."

Philosophy News Network: is Philosophy Useless?

Simone de Beauvoir, as a newscaster: "This week a special report on philosophy: is it totally pointless, or what?"
News ticker: "Communist party splits over
controversial “no splitting” rule."

de Beauvoir: "Joining us are two experts in the field, Bertrand Russell and Ludwig Wittgenstein."

Description of Bertrand Russell: expert in philosophy, math, and failing to ground things in logic.
Description of Ludwig Wittgenstein:  basically a younger, cooler, better looking version of Russell.

de Beauvoir: "We'll start with you, Russell, you believe that philosophy has value?"
News Ticker: "philosophy professor forced to imagine himself fired over offensive thought experiment."

Bertrand Russell: "Certainly de Beauvoir. There are so called “practical men” who only believe philosophy is the pursuit of hair-splitting distinctions and irrelevant musings."
News Ticker: Foucault writes 600 page genealogical account of his feud with next door neighbor over parking.

Russell: "And while philosophy doesn't build up a body of knowledge, like mathematics or science, because it is certain, but The value of philosophy is, in fact, to be sought largely in its very uncertainty. In its ability is able to suggest many possibilities which enlarge our thoughts and free them from the tyranny of custom."
News Ticker: Machiavelli says The Prince wasn't meant literally, it was written in a cynical attempt to gain power.

Russell: "the man who has no tincture of philosophy goes through life imprisoned in the prejudices derived from common sense and from convictions which have grown up in his mind without the co-operation of consent of his deliberate reason."
News Ticker: Philosophy community in shock after freshmen student solves all problems on the first try.
de Beauvoir: "Well said Russell. Wittgenstein, your response?"
News Ticker: Schopenhauer's lawsuit against Hegel dismissed after judge rules Hegel was the greater philosopher.

Ludwig Wittgenstein: "That is wrong. Philosophy is stupid and pointless, and we shouldn't do it anymore."
News Ticker: Kierkegaard confesses his big regret in life: that he didn't date enough smoking hot babes.

Russell: "How can you say that? Don't you realize that your statement itself is philosophical? That you are doing philosophy yourself?"
News Ticker: Epistemology Department closes after failing to secure knowledge of whether they had funding.

Wittgenstein: "Well, yes, obviously my philosophy is useful. Someone has to point how useless your philosophy is, after all. But after i finished doing that everything else is a huge waste of time."
News Ticker: philosophers all agree to give up on the hard problem of consciousness, “it's too hard.”

de Beauvoir: "Thank you, Wittgenstein, i think we can all agree this, at the very least, has been a huge waste of time."
News Ticker: Sigmund Freud changes his mind after realizing he is the only one that obsessed with penises.

de Beauvoir: "Coming up next week: women? doing philosophy? It's more likely than you think. But can they do as well as men? We have a panel of six men to discuss."
News Ticker: Saint Augustine confesses: “i once stole pears from a man in Reno, just to watch him cry.”
Is philosophy useless? Well, it is now on account of the fact that I've solved it.

Wittgenstein Solves Philosophy

Wittgenstein, standing in front of an empty paper: "Ladies and gentlemen, i have here the final solution to philosophy."
Wittgenstein turns the page to reveal the next page saying: "Philosophy is stupid...and we shouldn't do it anymore."

Person in audience: "But why-"
Wittgenstein: "Ah ah ah! no, you are trying to ask a philosophical question!"

Person in audience: "Yeah but-"
Wittgenstein: "No! Philosophical questions are empty. We can only discuss facts."

Person in audience: "But Wittgenstein, isn't that an empty statement too?"

Wittgenstein: "Ahh, yes! Well, that brings us to slide two."

Wittgenstein turns the page to reveal the next page saying: "Shut up about this being a self contradiction. I don't give a shit. You know I'm right anyway."
Wittgenstein: "Any other questions? Yeah, i didn't think so."
"Whereof one cannot speak, thereof you know I'm right because...come on."

Wittgenstein Teaches Elementary School

Wittgenstein, pointing to a blue square: "Okay class, it's time to learn our colors. This right here is blue."

Wittgenstein, pointing to other colors: "This is red, this is green, this is yellow."

Wittgenstein, pointing to several objects of different colors: "Okay, now that we've gone over our basic colors, can anyone tell me which of these objects the word “yellow” refers to?"

Wittgenstein: "Yes...?"
Child, raising his hand: "The truck!"

Wittgenstein, hitting the child's hand with a ruler: "WRONG! It doesn't refer to any of them, because referring is impossible, the word 'yellow' is only a move in a sort of language game."
Child: "Owww!"

Wittgenstein: "It is equally possible 'yellow' is used for the square shape, or the act of pointing. Only experience in a community of speakers can, over time, clarify the usage of a word."
Child: "It hurts!"

Wittgenstein, miming crying: "Ohhh, what's the matter, does it hurt? Are you going to cry to show me that you are in pain?"

Wittgenstein: "Well guess what, i have no way of inferring your internal state by your outward behavior, for all i know you could be feeling great. So suck it up, you little shit."

Wittgenstein: "okay, the colors lesson is complete, it's time to learn predicate logic. And i'll have you all know, there is no crying in predicate logic."
"Now, does anyone here have a theory of metaphysics? Because I would love to see if I could produce more behavior that is socially recognized to indicate pain."

Wittgenstein Revises His Thesis

Wittgenstein: "You see, Russell, the world is everything that is the case."
Bertrand Russel: "What do you mean, Wittgenstein?"

Wittgenstein: "When we speak, we form a proposition, we are making a picture of the world, connected by the logical form."

Wittgenstein: "But some sentences don't connect to the world as it is, they have no empirical content. When we speak of morality or metaphysics, there is no fact in the world that connects the proposition to a truth value."

Wittgenstein: "Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent."
Bertrand Russel: "But wait, isn't that sentence itself “nonsense”, since it doesn't describe a truth condition of empirical content?"

Wittgenstein: " Hmm, you are right, maybe i'll have to rework it..."

Wittgenstein: " Okay, how about this: Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent, starting..........NOW!"

Bertrand Russel: "I'm surprisingly okay with it."
PERSON: "it's perfect. There are no flaws at all. I think i just solved philosophy."
How about this: no one can say anything that isn't grounded in empirical observation, except for Wittgeinstein.

Wittgenstein At The Doctor

Doctor: "Tell me Wittgenstein, on a scale of one to ten, how much pain are you in?"
Wittgenstein: "What do you mean?"

Doctor: "Just look at the chart, and tell me the number of what you are feeling."

Wittgenstein: "And you expect the answer i give you to relate in some way to my internal conscious experience of pain?"
Doctor: "Of course. The more pain you are feeling, the higher the number you say."

Wittgenstein: "But how is that possible? This is nothing more than a language game that we play in order to negotiate the next move in social situation of being in a hospital."
Doctor: "Uh..."

Wittgenstein: "Look, neither of us can know what is going on internally with each other, or anyone else. If i give a five, and the next patient gives a five, we can't compare them to see if we felt the same amount of “pain”."

Wittgenstein: "We can't even tell if we are feeling the same type  of thing. Their name for “pain” could be associated with an entirely different feeling, and that could never be discovered."

Wittgenstein: "But more than that, both of us are well aware of the fact that we have no grounding for the scale, and the fact that my answer influences your next move in this little game of ours."

Wittgenstein: "Say a young woman comes in with severe cramps. The day before she read an article in the paper that reported doctors systematically ignore or downplay women's pain."
Wittgenstein: "What do we expect she should do when answering this question? Relate the internal experience of pain to a unknowable scale? No! She will of course attempt to convince the doctor to treat her pain seriously."

Wittgenstein: "She may even play act at greater pain than she has and say an “eight” when she feels a “six”, not to make the doctor believe she is feeling more pain than she is, but only to get proper treatment, because she knows he is prone to believe she is exaggerating."

Wittgenstein: "The doctor may think he detects that she is play acting, and write down a “four”. What they are doing more closely resembles a game of poker than a scientist describing a fact about the world."

Wittgenstein: "So you see, the scale itself is merely part of the social game of doctors and patients interacting, and has nothing directly to do with pain at all! It is no different than a game of poker."

Doctor: "Right, so...I'm really just looking for a number from one to ten so I can write it down on the chart."

Wittgenstein: "Fine...a nine."
Doctor: "You aren't getting any morphine you know."

Wittgenstein: "Actually it is more like a ten."
Doctor: "You sprained your ankle, Wittgenstein, you just need to ice it."
Actually, the phrase "drug seeking behavior" doesn't denote anything in the world, per se...

James Bond vs Ludwig Wittgenstein

"Please...no! No more examples of teaching primitive language games, I give up, I'll tell you anything!"

Wittgenstein Plays Scrabble

Board games rules are based on a fundamental mistake about the nature of fun.

The Vienna Circle Solves Humor

They have a good point though, comedy was a mistake.

Is a Hotdog a Sandwich? A Definitive Study.

Carnap: "But if we made an exact scientific language the usage would never be unclear!" Wittgenstein: "No, if you made an exact scientific language, it would always be unclear, because no one is going to learn your nerd language."

A Brief History of Metaphysics

Also...everything is facts.

The Vienna Circle Solves Philosophy

Back in Vienna: "okay, now that we have written this 600 page tract that PROVES scientifically that we are not, in fact, nerds, that should put the matter to rest."

Wittgenstein's Lion

"Derrida is actually quite clear, more clear in some ways than the analytic philosophers."

Captain Metaphysics and the Problem of Language

Yes, all problems of philosophy are problems of language, but it turns out that all problems of language are problems of punching, so...

Wittgenstein in the Great War

Oh no, this is a tragedy! He died before I got to explain private languages!

The Vienna Circle Faces a Crisis of Logical Positivism

It didn't work.

A robbery at the Wittgenstein Bank

"Hi, I'd like to open a savings account" "Imagine a tribe that, instead of money, traded only in colored stones. Each color, or combination of colors, represented a different value in the trading game..." "Uh...is there someone else I can talk to?"

Wittgenstein's Monster

All he wanted to do was fit in, but the villagers were terrified of his truth tables and aphoristic style.

Gottfried Leibniz and the Quest for the Holy Grail

The French guy is being played by Voltaire, of course.

Philosophy as Therapy

Philosophy is actually a great therapy. I mean, unless you have real problems, then you should probably go to real therapy. Although I do wonder why it occurs to me to use the word "real" at this moment...

Philosophy Club

When you think about it, any club can be a fight club with enough spirit.

Analytic Office

You thought that last joke wasn't going to be an Office Space sketch? No. BOOM! Radical freedom, it's Seinfeld. And a bit of Dilbert.

Philosophical Investigations

But it turned out that the language games that they play in prison are actually pretty fun.

The Philosophy Superbowl

In many ways Wittgenstein is similar to Tom Brady, whose first Superbowl was also based on a mistake: the Tuck Rule. Also, they are both devastatingly handsome.

Dungeons & Dragons & Philosophers II: The Analytic Turn

Russell destroyed most of Frege's items too, when he threw the bag of holding into the portable hole. Frege was pretty cheesed off about it at first, but eventually he admitted it was his fault for not realizing that portable holes weren't quite as secure as he had thought.

Language Games: Philosophers Play Pictionary

Growing up in a wealthy home, Wittgenstein never actually saw a beetle as a child. When he asked his parents and relatives what a beetle looked like, they gave descriptions, but he could tell they didn't know either. As he grew older, he theorized that no one had ever actually seen a beetle. He told all his philosopher friends, who just got really excited and assumed that he was making a profound point regarding the nature of language. He was too embarrassed to correct them and simply pretended like that was what he meant all along. He still isn't sure what a beetle is to this day, or if they even exist at all.

Kierkegaard at the Rave

Hegel was DJing that night and he swears the Absolute promised to meet up with him later, but Kierkegaard was pretty sure he's full of shit.

Beetle in a Box

Five naked, blindfolded men get into a hottub. The water represents the totality of facts, what we feel with our hands represents our picture of the world, and our penises...
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