Augustana University to Host Television Writer and Producer Dr. Eric Kaplan for Philosophy Lecture

By Jill Wilson | April 18, 2024
Eric Kaplan

Supported by the LaMoyne Pederson (‘63) Philosophy Enrichment Fund, Augustana is excited to announce that the university will be hosting television writer and producer Dr. Eric Kaplan on campus. His talk, "11 Questions About Questions: Regarding a Parable by Raymond Smullyan,” will take place at 5:30 p.m., on Tuesday, April 30, in the Froiland Science Complex (FSC), Room 113, and is free and open to the public.


“Eric Kaplan has a gift for making life’s big ideas both interesting and accessible. He’s brilliant and funny,” said Dr. David O’Hara, Augustana professor of philosophy and director of environmental studies & sustainability.


A native of Flatbush, New York, Kaplan began writing for Spy magazine and the Harvard Lampoon before getting his first television-writing job on “The Late Show With David Letterman.” Before “The Big Bang Theory,” he worked on other shows including “Futurama” (for which he won an Emmy), “Flight of the Conchords,” “Malcolm in the Middle” and “Andy Richter Controls the Universe.” Kaplan created “Zombie College” for icebox and co-created “The Drinky Crow Show” and “Mongo Wrestling Alliance” for Adult Swim through his company Mirari Films.


Kaplan earned a Ph.D. in philosophy from UC Berkeley. His book, Does Santa Exist: A Philosophical Investigation, was published by Dutton in 2014 and called "the funniest philosophy book since...well, ever" by Matt Groening, creator of “The Simpsons.” His science fiction and philosophy have appeared in the New York Times.


“Kaplan helps us examine our own lives thoughtfully and carefully, and he gets us laughing at ourselves along the way. Philosophy helps us live together more lovingly, if it’s done well, and Kaplan does it well,” said O’Hara.

The LaMoyne Pederson Philosophy Enrichment Fund was established in 2012 by his family in recognition of the Augustana alumnus’ 41-year career teaching philosophy at Augustana. The purpose of the fund is to enhance Augustana’s philosophy program by inviting distinguished scholars to speak on campus as part of a public forum on a general topic of interest.

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