Ronald M Moore
A study of philosophical topics at the advanced level. Topics vary.
“Philosophical Reflections on Humor” In this course, we investigate and critically assess historical and recent philosophical accounts of humor, including those of Hobbes, Kant, Schopenhauer, Freud, Bergson, Scruton, T. Cohen, and Morreall. Students will be asked to draw upon these and upon their own—by now highly refined—philosophical intuitions to devise a satisfactory account of what makes things funny (and not funny), and why. Although we will examine evidence of humor in a wide range of contexts (literature, drama, music, movies, etc.), we will pay special attention to the social institution of joke-telling and joke-reception. We will consider the question of what makes some jokes deep and others cheap, the question of when a joke is bad, or morally wrong to tell (and what that tells us about ourselves). We will consider both cognitive and emotive aspects of humor and how these inter-relate, and we will consider the question of how important humor’s value is in relation to other high social values.
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