Philosophy of Humor

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Abstract

Humor is a surprisingly understudied topic in philosophy. However, there has been a flurry of interest in the subject over the past few decades. This article outlines the major theories of humor. It argues for the need for more publications on humor by philosophers. More specifically, it suggests that humor may not be a well-understood phenomenon by questioning a widespread consensus in recent publications – namely, that humor can be detached from laughter. It is argued that this consensus relies on a cognitivist account of emotion, one that is open to debate, and that it becomes unclear what sorts of phenomena a theory of humor is supposed to explain when one questions this assumption.

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