By John Morreall
Comic reduction: A finished Philosophy of Humor develops an inclusive conception that integrates mental, aesthetic, and moral matters on the subject of humor
- Offers an enlightening and available foray into the intense enterprise of humor
- Reveals how general theories of humor fail to provide an explanation for its real nature and truly aid conventional prejudices opposed to humor as being delinquent, irrational, and foolish
- Argues that humor’s merits overlap considerably with these of philosophy
- Includes a foreword via Robert Mankoff, comic strip Editor of The New Yorker
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Extra resources for Comic Relief: A Comprehensive Philosophy of Humor
To feel fear, anger, or love for people is to have positive or negative desires about them. Those I fear I want to stay away from me; those I love I want close to me. But I don’t have to be attracted to or repelled by things I find funny. Fight or Flight – or Laughter 31 If I’m taking a tour of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris and see a chunk of cheese on a paper plate resting on the altar, I don’t have to like or dislike the cheese in order to find its placement funny. We often have a disinterested attitude toward things that we laugh about.
We can talk of a locutionary act here – your uttering a meaningful sentence. But there is no illocutionary act. In saying that General Motors is going to close down all their plants, you are not reporting, advising, or warning. If I took your utterance to be performing one of these illocutionary acts, and replied, “What a terrible decision! Shutting down all their plants will ruin them,” I would show that I had misunderstood your quip. ” It is joking or amusement. That’s the act you perform in uttering these words.
The audience chuckled, not at the idea of Berbers in cities, but simply at the awkward er sounds. Even in those cases we have described as having an object of amusement, it can be argued that it is not the thing or person that causes the laughter, but its relation to other things and to our expectations. If we laugh about the piece of cheese on the altar, for example, it is because our perception of its location is jarring. Amusement and standard emotions, I conclude, involve different orientations to the world.