Written by Timothy Dale & Joseph Foy (editors), Craig Yoe (foreword)
Published July 15, 2015
Publisher Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
ISBN 978-1-4422-4664-5

Jim Henson and Philosophy: Imagination and the Magic of Mayhem is a 280-page academic anthology edited by Timothy Dale and Joseph Foy. The book explores philosophical topics within the works of Jim Henson and the Muppets.

Contributors to the anthology include: Lauren Ashwell, Kimberly Baltzer-Jaray, David R. Burns, Deborah R. Burns, Samantha Brennan, Amanda Cawston, Brooke Covington, Christopher M. Culp, Ryan Cox, Natalie M. Fletcher, Victoria Hubbell, Dena Hurst, Christopher Ketcham, S. Evan Kreider, Shaun Leonard, Jennifer Marra, Michael J. Muniz, Laurel Ralston, Rhona Trauvitch, and Sheryl Tuttle Ross.

Craig Yoe, former creative director and manager of the Muppets, wrote a foreword for the book.


  • Forward by Craig Yoe

The Foolish Philosophy of Jim Henson That All Smart People Should Embrace

  • Introduction by Timothy M. Dale

Part I: Living with Muppets: Social and Political Philosophy

  • Chapter 1: Muppets, Monsters, and Misfits by Timothy M. Dale

The Social and Philosophical Significance of Difference

  • Chapter 2: Miss Piggy's Feminism by Samantha Brennan

Redefining Human Relationships through Marital Arts

  • Chapter 3: Kermit and Leadership by Amanda Cawston

Believing in the Dream

  • Chapter 4: Go and Find Your Songs by Laurel Ralston

Yoga, Philosophy, and Fraggle Rock

  • Chapter 5: Overconsumption and Environmentalism in Labyrinth by David R. Burns and Deborah R. Burns
  • Chapter 6: Who Are the People in Your Neighborhood? by Joseph J. Foy

The Importance of Community on Sesame Street

Part II: Thinking Like a Muppet: Epistemology and Logic

  • Chapter 7: Finding Fallacies Funny by Sheryl Tuttle Ross

How Sesame Street's Playing with Mistakes in Reasoning Makes Learning Fun

  • Chapter 8: I Saw Memories of You by Lauren Ashwell

Can Dreamfasting Teach Us about Introspection?

  • Chapter 9: Breaking Down the Walls by Michael J. Muniz

Experience and MirrorMask

  • Chapter 10: Muppets and Mimesis by S. Evan Kreider

Plato and Aristotle Take on Jim Henson

  • Chapter 11: The Best Seat by the Fire by Victoria Hubbell

Jim Henson and the Role of Storytelling in Culture

Part III: Acting Like a Muppet: Ethics

  • Chapter 12: Jim Henson's Epicurean Compass by Brooke Covington

Navigating the Labyrinth, Road Tripping to Hollywood, and Finding Our Way to Sesame Street

  • Chapter 13: My (Un)Fair Lady by Natalie M. Fletcher

Power, Fairness, and Moral Imagination in Labyrinth

  • Chapter 14: You Couldn't Handle Real Life by Jennifer Marra

The Vilains of Labyrinth and MirrorMask

  • Chapter 15: Meep Is the Word by Dena Hurst

Victims, Victimization, and Buddhist Philosophy in the Characters of Jim Henson

  • Chapter 16: "Whatever" by Christopher Ketcham

A Biograffiti of Gonzo the Alleged Magnificent

Part IV: Being a Muppet: Metaphysics

  • Chapter 17: Kermit's Rainbow Connection by Kimberly Baltzer-Jaray

The Lovers, the Dreamers, Philosphers, and Me

  • Chapter 18: The Passion, Will, and Freedom of Kermit, Miss Piggy, and Animal by Shaun Leonard
  • Chapter 19: "Life's Like a Movie" by Christopher M. Culp

Performativity and Realness with the Muppets

  • Chapter 20: Traveling Matt's Adventures in Outer Space by Ryan Cox

Fraggle Rock and Post-Structuralism

  • Chapter 21: Ontology and Superposition by Rhona Trauvitch

Where the Muppets Meet and Do Not Meet Schrödinger's Cat

  • Chapter 22: The Metaphysics of Muppetationality by Lauren Ashwell


Jim Henson’s creations have inspired generations with characters that are among the world’s most recognizable cultural icons. From Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy and their Muppet friends, to the legendary Sesame Street and the Children's Television Workshop, Henson has immeasurably impacted the growth, development and substance of children’s educational entertainment. Combining live-action and puppeteering into fantastical narratives like The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth, and the whimsical Fraggle Rock and The StoryTeller, Henson transforms imagination into reality, weaving powerful philosophical messages on identity, community, diversity, love, death, and friendship. Henson's legacy endures because he never shied away from exploring deep questions, nor underestimated the ability of children (or adults) to grapple with profound philosophical questions. Anyone who grew up with his stories, or has fallen in love with his characters, will enjoy this book's exploration of the entertaining, educational and profound world of Jim Henson.[1]


  1. Rowman.com - Jim Henson and Philosophy