One project of philosophical research which would likely prove of little profit is a history of philosophy the epochs of which are the greatest philosophical jokes. Although philosophers have always said innumerable funny things, notable sources of humor have been few and far between: Socrates, though not Plato, Nietzsche, though not Zarathustra, and more recently perhaps Bernard Williams or Jacques Derrida. The most a scholar can usually hope for is a clever barb punctuating pages of deathly earnestness. Such is the case with Hegel: although occasionally possessed of a biting wit, his sense of humor was hardly world-historical. Modernity, although many other things, simply isn't very funny. Schelling, however, had the good fortune to be the victim of Hegel's greatest jest. An "Absolute" such as Schelling's, Hegel says, would be the night in which all cows are black.".
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