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

Transcendental French Freedom

As an aside the wikipedia page for "list of french stereotypes" was pretty disappointing, people really need to get in there and expand it, because I feel like there must be more there.

Philosophy at a Red Light

And that, children, is why you NEVER act in such a way that you cannot, at the a same time, will to be a universal maxim.

500th Comic

Seriously though thanks for the support over the years.

Why Do Philosophy?

The "philosophy is useless" people are funny because so far as they can tell, they see a problem with our current societies in that we are too introspective and critical of ideas, and we need to think less about stuff and just continue on the current path. Seems a bit off to me...

Existentialism at the Peephole

Description: Sartre is in a hallway looking through the keyhole of a door.
Sartre: "Ohhhh yeah, that's right baby... "

Sartre: "...mmm yeah, take it off..."

Sartre: "Sartre, what the hell are you doing?"
de Beauvoir, suddenly appearing: "Sartre, what the hell are you doing?
Sartre: "Ahh!"

Sartre: "Oh uh...just doing some serious existential philosophy, de Beauvoir."

de Beauvoir: "Really? Because it looked like you were spying into that keyhole."
de Beauvoir: "Sartre, come on, really?"
Sartre: "Yeah...totally..."

de Beauvoir: "So uh...can i try?"
Sartre: "Of course."

de Beauvoir, looking through the keyhole: "Oh yeah....that's some interesting...philosophy."

Description: both are now looking through the keyhole.
Sartre: "Ohhh baby, we are learning something deep about the human condition right now."
de Beauvoir: "This is very philosophical."
Why is it philosophical? They were looking at Rene Descartes taking a bath.

The Philosophers Dating Game

Host: "Welcome to the philosophers dating game. Simone de Beauvoir will interview our three mystery philosophers and decide which to go on a date with. Let's begin."

Simone de Beauvoir: "Contestant number one, if you could imagine an ideal dream date, what would it be?"

Bertrand Russell: "I would spend the night setting up a formal system of dating that is grounded in pure logic. "

Simone de Beauvoir: "Uh...okay. Contestant number two, what was the best real date you ever had?"

Alexius Meinong: "Well I went on a date with Pamela Anderson and she said she loved my system of ontology."

Simone de Beauvoir: "No, I said real dates."

Alexius Meinong: "Well, imaginary things are real, they are just lacking the property of existence. So in a sense I've been on a hundreds of great dates."

Simone de Beauvoir: "Contestant number three, what do you find to be most beautiful in a woman?"

Rudolf Carnap: "Actually i think you'll find that question to be nonsense because it has no empirically verifiable content."

Alexius Meinong: "Alright, you know what? On second thought i don't want to date a philosopher at all. They are a bunch of weird nerds."
Host: "Yes, that's what most of the contestants say."
Unpopular opinion: Aristotle was the beginning of the downturn of western philosophy, because he changed the philosophy of Socrates into what was a fundamentally nerd philosophy. In this essay I will...

Sartrean Freedom

Sartre: "No matter the circumstance, we are always free, because our very existence is freedom. "
de Beauvoir: "Really, no matter what?"

Sartre: "Yes! Our freedom is transcendent, so cannot be taken away. Only we ourselves can deny our freedom by trying to flee from it."

Description: scene where Sartre is being arrested.
de Beauvoir: "Yeah, but what if the government restricts your liberties?"
Sartre: "I would be more free than ever, for i would be given the choice whether to rebel!"

Description: scene where Sartre is in a prison camp.
de Beauvoir: "But what if you are a prisoner of war?"
Sartre: "I would still have the freedom to think and write!"

Description: Sartre is chained up in a dungeon.
de Beauvoir: "Okay, but what if you are in a dungeon, and you are hands and legs are shackled so you can't move at all?"
Sartre: "Even then! I would be free to interpret my condition."

de Beauvoir: "And how do you interpret your condition like this?"
Sartre: "It freakin' sucks."
"But I could have equally thought it was great. Fifty fifty really."

All Men Are Mortal

As an aside, of all the philosophy quotes I've heard, I always thought Simone de Beauvoir's "all men must die: but for every man his death is an accident and, even if he knows it and consents to it, an unjustifiable violation" would be the most badass one to say just before you shoot someone.

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.

The Ethics of Ambiguity

Simone de Beauvoir: "So, as you know, Sartre, there are five types of people: losers, nihilists, adventurers, serious men, and existentialists."
Jean-Paul Sartre: "Of course, de Beauvoir everyone knows that."

de Beauvoir: "Well here's what I realized, they all suck except for the existentialists."
Sartre: "Well, yes, I thought that was obvious."
de Beauvoir: "But here's the thing, they don't just suck, they morally suck!"

Sartre: "Whoa, hold on, I thought it was impossible to reconcile morality with existentialism, because existentialism allows for the freedom to do anything, right?"

de Beauvoir: "Wrong. Let's break down why the other five types of people are morally wrong first."

de Beauvoir: "Losers are obviously wrong. They are just sub men who are incapable of asserting themselves. They flee from their freedom either in resentment or passive submission. This cannot be a morally authentic way of engaging in the world."
Image of loser: "I hate everything  but I'm not going to do anything about it."

de Beauvoir: "Next are nihilists. Obviously wrong. They believe their lives are meaningless so proceed to live meaningless lives. They are basically just losers who like being losers. Plus, if they are really nihilists they should really just kill themselves all the time."
Imagine of Nihilist: "Nothing matters, man. We are just floating on a space rock."

de Beauvoir: "Now the serious men of society who believe wholeheartedly in society's rules. At least they believe in something, but society is a pretty dumb thing to believe in. Be it religion, a company, or just the social rules. They cant make moral choices because they cant make real choices at all."
Image of serious man: "What's important in life is to build highways."
de Beauvoir: "Adventures. Badasses. Now they are better than losers, nihilists and serious men, obviously, because at least they are cool. But are they moral? No. No one cool is moral because when push comes to shove, they will always choose being cool over real authentic moral engagements. "
Image of adventurer: "Why climb the mountain? Because it is there."

de Beauvoir: "Now we get to the existentialists, since we've eliminated everyone else, they are the only ones that can be authentically free, on account of the fact that they've read our books."
Image of existentialist: "Wow, Simone de Beauvoir is right, I should live authentically."

Sartre: "Of course. But how does that make them moral?"
de Beauvoir: "Because we are the only ones to recognize that no system can deal with the concrete reality of life. "

de Beauvoir: "It turns out that all moral decisions are always ambiguous, and nothing can guide us in our answers."

Sartre: "Right, so if your answer to morality is that nothing can guide us, that's almost like having...no morality at all."

de Beauvoir: "Well, there are still some rules that can guide us, despite our absolute freedom."

Sartre: "Like what?"
de Beauvoir: "Like don't be a god damn loser, obviously. Pay attention!"
Oh also I forgot one more rule: overthrow the bourgeoisie and create worldwide communism.

Freedom and Battleship

"Of course I think I'm the only one who should be able to be a hypocrite, what's inauthentic about that?"

Simone Weil vs the Existentialists

Description: Sartre, de Beauvoir and Camus are sitting at a table drinking wine and having dinner, Simone Weil approaches.

de Beauvoir: "Hey Simone Weil, have some wine with us, we have some nice Camembert cheese and duck."
Weil: "Sorry, i can't now, de Beauvoir, i'm off to work at the auto factory."

Camus: "You work at a factory now? I thought you taught philosophy."
PERSON: "yes, Camus, six days a week."
Camus: "But...why?"

Weil: "If we say we believe in the liberating the working class, we must understand on a concrete level how they suffer! Intellectuals cannot pretend to know how to improve their lives without living them ourselves."

Weil: "Also i don't eat fancy cheese, because those suffering from hunger cannot afford such luxuries, so i deny myself them as well."

Weil: "I have to be off, I'm marching for increasing benefits to the unemployed before my shift."

be Beauvoir: "Wow, she really lives by her ideals, doesn't she?"
Camus: "Indeed, she is really the only great spirit of our times."

description: awkward pause.

Sartre: "Super annoying though, right?"
de Beauvoir: "Yes! I'm so glad you said that."
Camus: "Does she have to be ⁠ SO authentic all the time?"

Sartre: "Exactly, we have to be authentic about eating cheese now? Come on. there's a limit."
Camus: "Precisely. More wine?"
Satre: "Please."
Maybe we are authentic in our own way, alright? Maybe it is authentic to sacrifice nothing for your beliefs, okay?

Dungeons & Dragons & Philosophers VIII: the Sci-fi Debate

Description: Descriptions of the player characters and dungeon master.

Simone de Beauvoir, Dungeon Master. Had a moment of existential horror upon realizing PCs have freedom, and didn't have to follow her adventure.

Aristotle, Level13 Warrior, Neutral Good. It's a little known fact, but he's the one who came up with the idea of dividing people into nine essential alignments.

Edmund Burke, Level 12 Bard, Lawful Good. Laments that while he has had many beautiful adventures, he has never had a sublime one.

Thomas Hobbes, Level 12 Paladin, Lawful Neutral. His first character died at sea, after he refused to fight back against an attacking Leviathan.

Donna Haraway, Level 10 Fighter/Mage, Chaotic Good. Once tried to merge minds with an illithid to better understand underdark social structures.

de Beauvoir: "You enter the dungeon, it smells strongly of rotten flesh and mold. You can hear running water in the distance."

Aristotle: "Monsters could be right around the corner. They must go to the fresh water to drink."
Haraway: "I take out my atomic laser canon +4, and arm the missiles."

Description: Donna Haraway's character has an atomic laser canon instead of an arm.

Hobbes: "Okay, and i...wait... what?"
Haraway: "Uh...my atomic laser canon that i grafted to my arm. With +4 enchantment."

Hobbes: "Haraway, Dungeons and Dragons is a FANTASY game, not sci-fi."
Haraway: "Well, i disagree. Mixing ourselves with cybernetics allows us to better understand our roles as heroes."
Harway: "You see, the interesting thing about a cyborg is that while it has human components, and thinks like a human, it has no past."

Haraway: "This allows them to fight for no people, because they have no culture beyond what they have created themselves. Thus they can fight for all people."

Haraway: "Oh, and also they have lasers, which are super badass."
Burke: "Come ON, can we just play by the rules in the rulebook just this once?"

Haraway: "Ah, but what is the better DnD game, to follow the rules - or to freely, creatively, make your OWN rules?"

Hobbes: "Are you serious? To follow the rules, obviously!"
de Beauvoir: "Alright, relax Hobbes, I'm the dungeon master, so i get to decide."

de Beauvoir: "Hmm..."
de Beauvoir: "Hmmmm..."
de Beauvoir: "Laser cannons are allowed."
Haraway: "Yes!"
Burke: "This is so stupid!"
Haraway: "Is it stupid? Is it? Or is it the brilliant way forward into a new kind of Dungeons and Dragons?"

Aristotle: "I agree with Hobbes, this sucks. What characteristics make a good horse is different than what makes a good man. DnD is good because of fantasy and exploration. I mean it's right there in the name. DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS!"

Hobbes: "Thank you, Aristotle."

Haraway: "Maybe i'm more interesting in exploring what is possible than exploring ancient ruins. Exploring our own consciousness and society. Isn't that the greatest adventure?"

Burke, shouting: "No, the greatest adventure is killing a fucking dragon! Obviously."
Hobbes: "Precisely right, Burke. Let's all go back to following the law. There are RULES  in life! You cant just do anything willy nilly!"

de Beauvoir: "Well, lest you forget, Hobbes, i am the Dungeon Master, and that means i AM the law. You agreed to play, so you agreed to play by my rules, and i say we are exploring the future of space feminism."

Hobbes: "I'm starting to see the appeal of revolutionaries."

Aristotle: "Oh, if we are doing things willy nilly though, can i be Billy the Kidd and carry a six shooter?"
de Beauvoir: "I don't see why not, Aristotle."

Description: Aristotle puts a cowboy hat on.
Aristotle: "Yes! Space feminism rules!"
I know this is the sixth or seventh comic that Aristotle has appeared in with a cowboy hat, but this is no the canonical explanation for how he got it. These comics are all chronically out of order, it turns out, or something like that.

Philosophy News Network: Science Solves Philosophy

[description]: Simone de Beauvoir at news desk.
Simone de Beauvoir: "Tonight on Philosophy News Network: has science made philosophy obsolete?"
news ticker: " Leibniz admits this isn't the best of all possible worlds after spending five minutes on twitter"

Simone de Beauvoir: "We talk with one scientist who claims that we no longer need philosophy, as science can now answer all questions. Mary Midgley, your report."
news ticker: " Pyrrho on winning the Nobel Prize for Philosophy: “i really can't believe it”"

Mary Midgley: "So you've created a machine that can answer any philosophical question? "
Scientist: "That's right, we used Science to create it."
Mary Midgley: "Well, that sounds more like engineering, but let's give it a shot"

Mary Midgley: "Is it moral to steal in order to feed your starving family?"
Machine: "YES"

Mary Midgley: "Does God exist?"
Machine: "NO"

Mary Midgley: "If you replace every part of a ship with new parts, is it still the same ship?"
Machine: "NO"

Mary Midgley: "Does time flow from past to future, or do things exist eternally all at once?"
Machine: "The second one"
Voice from inside the machine: " how much longer, it's hot in here..."

Mary Midgley: "What was that?"
Scientist: "What was what?"
Mary Midgley: "That noise."
Scientist: "I didn't hear anything."

Mary Midgley: "It sounded like someone is in there."
Scientist: "No, that's just the... ...science atoms working."

[description]: machine bursts open and a man falls out.

Scientist: "Sure, okay, yes. It is just a guy in a box. But he is a scientist! Isn't it true that when philosophers try to answer questions that aren't empirical they are just speculating, but when scientists do the exact same thing they're grounding the answers in science?"

Person who fell out of the machine: "No, that's not true."
Scientist: "Oh shut up, Steve!"

Mary Midgley: "Back to you, de Beauvoir."
news ticker: " Heideigger says that when writing Being and Time, he always secretly thought of Dasein as gay."

Simone de Beauvoir: "Thanks Migdley. It looks like scientists, much like everyone else on Earth, shouldn't comment as though they are experts on things they don't know anything about. Make sure to join us next week where we answer the question on all of our minds: “should we all just kill ourselves immediately, or what?”"
news ticker: " Jean-paul Sartre admits he mostly invented existentialism to look cool in front of girls"
Philosophy is pointless because my philosophical opinions are correct.

The Game of Life

Foucault's Editor: "could you maybe try to state your point a little more clearly and concisely?" Foucault: "clear writing is one island of the carceral archipelago; binding, punishing, surveillance at all times the mind of the writer, forcing his thoughts to break down into so called scientific modes of grammar, that confine creativity and restrict freedom into contained and approved modes of expression." Editor: "...what?" Foucault: "In other words, no, I won't."

Punk Rock Philosophy

Exisentialism is the most punk rock philosophy, but Diogenes is the most punk rock philosopher.

Philosophy News Network: The Evil Demon

"Oh, but also, the Star Wars Prequels were good in the real world. Like, even better than the originals. I made up Jar Jar Binks out of boredom, sorry about that."

Life Decisions

Sartre, what would you do? I would do nothing. Just sit on my ass all day. You don't need to be an immortal God to do nothing, man, Merleau-Ponty does nothing and he is going to die any day.

Sartre and the Chestnut Tree

"Oh my god, de Beauvoir! I've just realized what I should do with my life! I should write novels!" "Sartre...you've already written like five novels..." "Oh yeah..."

Philosophy Round Table: Human Nature

Man is the animal that watches stupid TV shows.

Jenga and the Meaning of Life

As renowned philosopher Al Davis said, the meaning life is to just win, baby.

Philosophy News Network: Postmodernism Special Report

Also, existentialism is when, like...you are too cool to care that smoking kills you, because we are all gonna die anyway and stuff.

Existential Chess

Okay, I promise this is the last time I'll do a "radical freedom" joke. Although when you think about it no promise that I make today can actually determine my future actions, on account of...well, you know.

Philosophy News Network: Strike

"Oh and I almost forgot, one more demand: we need eight billions dollars to construct an imaginary Large Hadron Collider to help us with our thought experiments."

It's Always Sunny in Paris 2

de Beauvoir: "Wait, weren't we supposed to be defeating the Nazis?" Camus: "Oh yeah, that's right. Oh well, I'm sure it will work itself out."

Philosophy News Network: Philosophy Solved

Of course, the entire premise of philosophy being "solved" is ridiculous, since Leibniz already solved it when he wrote the Monadology

The Philosophy Force Five vs the Scientismists

Some people are going to say this was an unfair portrayal of Sam Harris, but considering I didn't have him say anything openly sexist, I'd say it was pretty generous.

It's Always Sunny in Paris

Camus: "Wait, so if the meaning of life is arbitrary, maybe it can just be seducing as many girls as possible?" Sartre: "It isn't that arbitrary."

Philosophy News Network: Derrida Arrested

"And how do you plead to the charge of obscurantism?" "The theory of a 'plea' is organized, understood, and experienced prior to any conscious intention as a theory of language. Before we constructed signs we have a presupposed theory of both implicit thought, grasped as pure presentness, and explicit language, grasped as an obliteration of all signs and structures of thought. These two modes must come together in an infinite manifold in order for any 'plea' to be made." "God damnit Derrida, come on."

Existential Daycare

Of course, it was really a meta commentary on how art can never fully communicate the inward feelings of the artist.

Sexy Vampires and Existential Philosophy

Yeah I mean, life is meaningless and all, but it turns out being a sexy vampire is kind of alright.

Nietzsche tries speed dating

"That which is done out of love always takes place beyond restraining orders." "It really doesn't, Nietzsche."

Terminator: The Simone de Beauvoir Chronicles

All machines are mortal, and each machine's particular death will be at the hand of my double-barrel shotgun.

The French Play Monopoly

Most people don't realize this, but according to the official rules if you play with the top hat you can't go to jail.

Dungeons and Dragons and Philosophers VI: The Angsty Dragon of Angst

It's better to not even begin playing D&D than it is to play as a Bard.

Rebel Without a Constant Conjunction

"Hey Dad, I need some advice on dealing with some trouble I'm in with the Transcendental Idealists." "Son, how many times have I told you not to hang around Transcendental Idealists? Why don't you hang out with that nice Empiricist boy from the church?" "Berkeley? He is such a loser!"

Philosophy and the City

Burke kept calling Simone de Beauvoir and trying to convince her that society functions best with a structured class system, and she had to eventually change her number.

Sartre's Waiter

"I don't know, it sort of seems like someone playacting at having radical freedom..."

Sartre: a Show About Nothingness 2

I'll bet you 500 dollars that you won't seduce a married woman just because you find it interesting.

A very spooky philosophy Halloween

Camus came dressed as himself, because what is really scary is how sexy he is.

Existential Shopping Network

Also, if there are any hot actresses watching, give me a call.

Philosophy News Network: the Presidential Debates

Make sure to join us at eleven. Do your teenagers have a subjective, internal experience? The answer may be unknowable.

Philosophy Club

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

Philosophy News Network: The Death of God

Make sure to join us at 11 for our shocking exposé on chairs. Do they even exist? The answer may shock you.

Despair Bears

"But you made Care Bears creepy and weird" No. Wrong. The Care Bears were always creepy and weird

Sartre: A Show About Nothingness

"Albert, this report you turned in. It's crap." "Or maybe it's just so brilliant you just don't understand it." "No, it's definitely crap" "Damn you Simone!"

Philosophy News Network

That's what people mean when they talk about "experimental philosophy" right?

Existential Office

Eventually they figured out that Kafka was actually fired years ago, but due to a glitch in the payroll system he kept getting paid. So they fixed the glitch.

Dungeons & Dragons & Philosophers V: The Battle of Five Philosophers

And that was the day that Utilitarians, Objectivists, Communists, and Egoists all united as one: to kill Nietzsche. And also they told him that their group was really hardcore and didn't allow re-rolling characters, so once you died you had to wait outside and not talk.

Existential Birthday

Sartre stopped inviting Kierkegaard, because Kierkegaard kept giving him crosses and trying to get him to talk about the stages of despair.

Existential Cooking

Up next, Nietzsche will explain why all pastries are actually built on ressentiment.

Ambiguity Woman

The only thing more unrealistic than absolute moral systems is her proportions

Candyland and the Nature of the Absurd

Sartre and Camus told everyone that their falling out was over politics, but really it was mostly over Sartre evoking "radical freedom" one too many times at game night

Fastest Gun in the Continent

I'm pretty sure if my computer had free will, it would use it 99% of the time to be a judgemental dick to me.

Dungeons & Dragons & Philosophers III: Ladies' Night at the Dragon's Den

Arendt made one last attempt to save her alignment by saying she was just following party leadership, so shouldn't be held accountable, but it didn't go over well.

Dungeons & Dragons & Philosophers

About half the time spent on this comic was spent on figuring out how exactly Simone de Beauvoir's hair works, and it still ended up looking terrible. I make no apologies for Derrida's hair, however, for no artist alive can capture that glorious mane.
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