Angelaki 21 (3):1-11 (2016)

Authors
Russell Ford
Elmhurst College
Abstract
The Western philosophical tradition shows a marked fondness for tragedy. From Plato and Aristotle, through German idealism, to contemporary reflections on the murderous violence of the twentieth century, philosophy has often looked to tragedy for resources to make suffering, grief, and death thinkable. But what if, in showing this preference, philosophical thought has unwittingly and unknowingly aligned itself with a form of thinking that accepts injustice without protest? What if tragedy, and the philosophical thinking that mobilizes it, gives a tacit assent to injustice?This collection explores possibilities for philosophical thinking that are revealed by deliberately refusing the tragic model of thought, by turning instead to its often-overlooked companion: comedy. Comprising a series of experiments ranging across the philosophical tradition, the essays in this volume propose to break, or at least suspend, the use of tragedy as an index of truth and philosophical worth. In so doing, they explore new conceptions of solidarity, sympathy, critique, and justice.In conjunction with the extended network of projects and ideas with which they engage, the essays collected here provide ample reason to believe that philosophical thinking, aligned with comedy, is capable of important and original insights, discoveries, and creations. The prejudicial acceptance of tragic seriousness only impoverishes the life of thought; it can be rejuvenated and renewed by laughter and the comic.
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DOI 10.1080/0969725x.2016.1205252
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