On The Good Place, Thinking Too Much About How to Be Good Can Send You Straight to Hell

As a rule, philosophers are not a funny bunch. Sure, Jacques Derrida delivered the occasional etymological pun and Daniel Dennett sometimes slyly trolls his readers, but erudite pranksters tend to be the exception rather than the rule. When they do manage something like humor, it almost always comes in the form of cruel barbs—directed, more often than not, at their own colleagues.

It’s fitting then, that one of The Good Place’s best recurring jokes is that all philosophers wind up in...

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