An atheist arrives at the gates of heaven (the Pearly Gates)
St Peter is pointing out to the atheist that there is a notice on the Pearly Gates declaring “No atheists”.
The atheist is thinking “I don’t believe it!”
The joke is a play on the fact that the atheist doesn’t believe in heaven rather than that he is exasperated by the fact that he isn’t allowed in.
Philosophy cartoon or logo
Using the expression “What is philosophy?”
A talking question mark is asking the question.
My cartoons about philosophy are published in Philosophy Now magazine.
A signpost to doom
Cartoon. A signpost pointing to negative conditions of the human psyche in all directions (sadness, misery etc). The sign on the top of the signpost indicates where the signpost is right now – boredom.
The people standing beneath the sign decide to stay where they are.
They’d rather be bored than risk experiencing something more negative.
Notice that the signpost has no positive directions on it. This doesn’t mean that there are none – but that to the people beneath the sign see it that way.
A cartoon about motivation, outlook, pessimist, pessimists, optimism (or the lack of it), mindsets, melancholia, negativity, inertia, the human condition.
Cartoon reference number: a101
A cartoon about cognition.
An illustration about the philosophy of language
Is language necessary for thinking?
Do we have to think in words
A cartoon about linguistics, articulating concepts, abstract thought processes
First published: Philosophy Now, Jan 2014
Cartoon drawn: Jan 2014
Cartoon reference: a645
Michelangelo Sistine Chapel pastiche
A cartoon showing Michelangelo’s God creating the animals – in this case the rabbit
A pastiche of God creating Adam
A science quote about the truth of the scientific purpose.
A riposte to anti-science
Quote playing with the fact that some people misrepresent science as telling lies about the nature of things
The quote is my own
A typography-based image
This quote is a riposte to the claim by anti-scientific sections of society that science peddles lies and untruths (often at the behest of big business, drug companies, governments and other interested parties). Such critics of science are often unaware of the scientific method.
God doesn’t play dice with the universe – he prefers card games
A cartoon based on Einstein’s quote “God doesn’t play dice with the universe”. In the cartoon God is playing a game of cards instead
This image has been used on the cover of a pack of playing cards that was used as a gift for physics students
A question mark incorporating a face
A logo or symbol representing philosophy – in the form of a question mark with a face in the design
A typographical logo of a questionmark symbolising philosophy
See my book on philosophy
A cartoon showing a person putting on a ‘thinking cap’.
The thinking cap resembles a brain.
An image about thought processes, thinking, the nature of consciousness, cognition, studying, problem solving – illustrating the saying “Put on your thinking cap”
Original version drawn: 2011
Cartoon reference number: a609
Reality tv cartoon – showing a person watching reality tv watching a person watching reality tv – an infinite regression image
A cartoon about television reflecting life: about the way that people’s lives are seemlessly integrated with technology – to the point where people only exist in relation to technology
An illustration of people doing nothing but watching reality television, for whom nothing exists beyond the tv screen, the computer screen or the phone screen.
An illustration depicting altruistic behavior
The cartoon shows a person spanning a chasm or abyss, acting as a bridge with other people walking across.
The benefits of altruism are sometimes debated in evolutionary terms, sometimes arguing that altruism evolved because the good of the group is more important than the good of the individual. Altruism may also be seen as a form of display, where the altruistic individual is displaying his or her positive qualities to others, thus improving social status.
The illustration could also be interpreted as depicting exploitation, depending on context
Medicalisation of deviant behaviour cartoon
Neurological origins of behavioural traits
Neurocriminology and its implications
A cartoon about the possibility that criminal behaviour or deviant behaviour may sometimes (or often) have its roots in a person’s biology.
The idea that personality may be determined by biology is one aspect of the nature v nurture debate, and has implications for the concept of free will
An illustration about the medicalization of behaviour. This may include behavioural syndromes ranging from psychopathic tendencies and deviance to conditions such as hyperactivity, ADHD (attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder), rebelliousness or non-conformity.
The cartoon illustrates the tendency of criminal lawyers to sometimes claim, for instance, that particular parts of dna or neurological makeup are responsible for criminal behaviour – thus removing responsibility from the person and placing it on the person’s dna or neurology.
The subject of neurological origins for criminal behaviour is dealt with in the book The Anatomy of Violence by Adrian Raine
The cartoon was first published in Philosophy Now magazine
Bizarre cartoon featuring a padlock as a person’s head or an imaginary creature’s head
An illustration about unlocking creativity
A bizarre or surrealist image showing a person or imaginary creature with a head in the form of a padlock.
The person is holding a key and is saying “Unlock your imagination!”.
The illustration is about freeing the imagination or liberating the mind to be creative. It is an image to convey the link between creativity and thought processes
The cartoon has uses as an illustration in art education or in areas of philosophy or psychology.
For a less bizarre, more child-friendly version of the same concept click here
Padlock head cartoon
A surreal or bizarre image showing a person with a head in the form of a padlock.
The person is holding the padlock’s key in their hands.
The drawing was created with no idea what it means, although it’s probably an unconscious metaphor for something as it gives the impression of aspiring to be psychologically profound. Perhaps it’s meant to refer in some ways to psychology, the workings of the mind, the conceptualisation of ideas and so on. Maybe it’s about the way that people become locked into patterns of thought and behaviour (while holding the key to escaping).
A cartoon about cognition, thought processes, psychiatry, the mind
Strip cartoon about the nature of philosophy
A philosopher and a layman talk about the meaning of life
The joke in this cartoon is that the layman is intrigued about the purpose of life but the philosopher has come to the conclusion that it isn’t an important question.
It’s a cartoon that questions our assumptions of what is important
Yes or No – which will win in a tug-of-war?
A cartoon illustrating the idea of being pulled in two directions at once, or of indecision.
A conceptual illustration that might be about voting, a yes and no vote in an election, indecisive behaviour, being pulled in several directions, opposites pulling in opposite directions, weighing up an argument, forming opinions, decisiveness
Professor Brian Cox cartoon
We are made of stardust
A humorous comment about the fact that all of the elements apart from hydrogen and helium were created inside stars – so everything is made of stardust
The joke here is that when the tv astronomer Professor Brian Cox says that everything is made of stardust he really lays it on thick in a way that many people, especially women, find very attractive. So here the woman is actually saying that she finds Brian Cox attractive, and it even affects her attitude to slugs
Cogito ergo sum – I think therefore I am
The cartoon refers to the idea that people create their own reality or project reality outwards from their minds. The idea is that the outer reality is an illusion created by neurological activity (or some other process if neurological activity is an illusion)
The cartoon shows a person creating a thought bubble inside which the person is sitting – thus creating their own reality
The phrase cogito ergo sum (I think therefore I am) is attributed to philosopher René Descartes
Ludwig Wittgenstein caricature
Ludwig Wittgenstein (26 April 1889 – 29 April 1951), philosopher
Main fields of interest: logic,the philosophy of mathematics, of mind, and of language
Cartoon – a giant space monster is still insignificant when compared to the size of the universe
A cartoon about the importance of context to significance
The cartoon shows two astronauts about to be devoured by a huge space worm
The inspiration behind this cartoon is the assertion that people sometimes make that people are insignificance when compared to the vastness of the universe. It’s my view that the size of the universe is of no significance for all practical purposes
Cartoon reference number: a567
Cartoon – aliens trying to deduce what humans look like based on limited evidence
Aliens trying to visualise what humans look like based on their clothing – however the aliens only have a glove and a shoe with which to work
A cartoon about trying to reach conclusions when you don’t have enough evidence
In the cartoon the aliens have deduced that a human glove is a garment for the body and the (five) legs, while the shoe is an article of headgear like a hat.
The aliens have reached their conclusion due to their bias towards their own body forms.
A cartoon about cognitive limitations, cultural bias
Cartoon reference number: a565
Cartoon – an alien asking a soldier what monster he is fighting
The cartoon shows an extraterrestrial creature that has landed on earth. The alien is talking to a soldier who is dressed in fighting gear and is heavily armed. The alien is asking the soldier what sort of monster he shares his planet with that he has to be so well armed against it
The joke, of course, is that the monster is us, the human race
This cartoon makes a very negative point about the human race. Personally I think that the human race is okay, but that we tend to have too high an expectation of ourselves and an unrealistic view of the possibility that we can attain an ideal state of existence.
I drew this cartoon in the 1970s. It’s now forty years later. By coincidence I’ve just read a few articles about philosopher John Gray, who is of the opinion that the human race is not exactly the best thing to have evolved on this planet. Possibly a bit misanthropic, but not deluded in the way that some of the more shiny concepts of the nature of humanity are. John Gray’s latest book is The Silence of Animals
Cartoon reference number: a566
The uninvention of the wheel – a nonsense cartoon
A cartoon or illustration illustrating the fanciful notion that inventions can be ‘uninvented’
Here, in an imaginary setting in a fictitious world, the inhabitants are discovering that by removing the wheels from a cart the cart becomes really hard to move. They seem to be excited by this revelation. Quite why I’m not sure. In fact, I’m not really sure what the cartoon’s about at all. Perhaps it’s about the discovery of the significance of meaninglessness.
This cartoon was drawn quite a few years ago, maybe in the 1980s. I must check.
A quite surreal cartoon, bizarre both in subject and style
Cartoon reference number: a561
Cartoon – the evolution of humor
An illustration using the classic ‘evolution of man from ape’ tableau, showing modern man developing a sense of humour.
Humour is depicted using the trope of a banana skin
Cartoon reference number: a549
Unicorn cartoon. Proof that unicorns don’t exist
In the illustration a unicorn is reading a magazine or newspaper article with the headline “Unicorns don’t exist – the proof”.
The joke is that something that doesn’t exist is reading an article giving proof that it doesn’t exist.
The cartoon is based on the fact that generally you can’t prove a negative. For instance, in Britain before the time of ocean-going discovery all swans that were observed were white – however this didn’t mean that there were no swans that were black (as indeed there were in Australia).
The argument is often applied to religion and the subject of attempting to prove the existence of god. Believers in god frequently ask nonbelievers to disprove the existence of god. Atheists have to reply that disproving the existence of god is similar to disproving the existence of unicorns. The onus is really on the believer to prove the existence of god (or prove the existence of unicorns).
A cartoon about mythical or mythological creatures, the burden of proof
Cartoon reference number: a545
Do we live inside a hologram? Cartoon
A cartoon showing people climbing out of the holgram panel on a credit card.
The caption reads “Bad news. Not only are we living inside a hologram, but we’re nearing our expiry date.”
The illustration is about whether our three dimensional reality is a form of hologram like projection or illusion.
The joke is in comparing a grand theory of a hologramic universe with the mundane hologram on a credit card.
A cartoon about the nature of the universe, virtual reality
Cartoon reference number: a538
Altruism cartoon. Mindless violence and mindless altruism.
The evolution of altruism
A cartoon about the emergence of altruism in nature.
The cartoon shows prehistoric men or cave men fighting. Another prehistoric man is rushing to the scene of the violence to care for the wounded. Yet another caveman is wondering about the evolution of altruism as a personality trait.
Cartoon reference number: a535