The presence of the other team messes it all up

From the Wall Street Journal review of the new book Soccer and Philosophy:

“In a blissfully funny, vintage Monty Python sketch, there is a soccer game between Germany and Greece in which the players are leading philosophers.

“The always formidable Germany, captained by “Nobby” Hegel, boasts the world-class attackers Nietzsche, Heidegger and Wittgenstein, while the wily Greeks, captained by Socrates, field a dream team with Plato in goal, Aristotle on defense and—a surprise inclusion—the mathematician Archimedes.

“Toward the end of the keenly fought game, during which nothing much appears to happen except a lot of thinking, the canny Socrates scores a bitterly disputed match winner. Mayhem ensues!

“The enraged Hegel argues in vain with the referee, Confucius, that the reality of Socrates’ goal is merely an a priori adjunct of non-naturalistic ethics, while Kant holds that, ontologically, the goal existed only in the imagination via the categorical imperative, and Karl Marx—who otherwise had a quiet game—protests that Socrates was offside….

As the existential philosopher Jean Paul Sartre wrote in his Critique of Dialectical Reason, “In a football match, everything is complicated by the presence of the other team.”


Cartoons: courtesy E.P. Unny/ The Indian Express (top), Surendra/ The Hindu