I had planned to spend a portion of my “winter break” reading a few of the books that have been sitting next to my bed for the last month or two – you know, the books that patiently wait their turn to be read but are often neglected due to school work. Well, unfortunately for those books, I received a Christmas gift that is either the greatest collection of essays ever or a total waste of time (depending on how you look at it). I like to think it’s the greatest collection of essays ever.
Seinfeld and Philosophy: A Book about Everything and Nothing opens with an preface by William Irwin that asks, “how can philosophy, the discipline which is ‘a more or less general theory of everything’ deal with a show which claims to be ‘about nothing’?” Well, as he puts it, “everything and nothing are sometimes not so far apart.”
Thirteen Seinfeld fans (who happen to be professional philosophers) examine the ideas, the stories, the jokes, and the characters. Each chapter is an extended academic style essay that manages to be both dense enough for those familiar with philosophy and accessible enough for the average fan to read.
How is Jerry like Socrates? Is it rational for George to “do the opposite?” Would Simone de Beauvoir say that Elaine is a feminist? Is Kramer stuck in Kierkegaard’s aesthetic stage?
Seinfeld and Philosophy is both an enlightening look at the most popular sitcom of the decade and an entertaining introduction to philosophy via Seinfeld’s plots and characters. These fourteen essays, which explore the ideas of Plato, Aristotle, Lao-Tzu, Heidegger, Kant, Marx, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Sartre, and Wittgenstein, will show readers how to be masters of their philosophical domain.