New York, NY, USA: Routledge (2017)

Russell Ford
Elmhurst College
The Western philosophical tradition has shown a marked and perennial fondness for tragedy. From Plato and Aristotle, through the development of Christianity, to German idealism, and even to contemporary reflections on the murderous violence of the twentieth century, philosophy has repeatedly looked to tragedy for resources to make suffering, grief, and death thinkable. But what if by showing such a preference for tragedy, philosophical thought has unwittingly and unknowingly aligned itself with a form of thinking that accepts human suffering and pain without protest? This collection explores possibilities for philosophical thinking that refuse the tragic model of thought and turn instead to its often-overlooked companion: comedy. Composed of 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. Instead, they explore new conceptions of solidarity, sympathy, critique, and justice. In addition, 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. This book was originally published as a special issue of Angelaki: Journal of the Theoretical Humanities.
Keywords comedy, tragedy, ethics, justice
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Reprint years 2018
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ISBN(s) 1138559547   0367892111   9781138559547
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