Search | Directories | Reference Tools
UW Home > Discover UW > Student Guide > Course Catalog 

Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Ronald M Moore
PHIL 401
Seattle Campus

Advanced Topics in Philosophy

A study of philosophical topics at the advanced level. Topics vary.

Class description

“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.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Annette R. Bernier
Date: 11/12/2009