Classical Quarterly 41 (2):279-296 (1991)

Authors
Stephen Halliwell
University of St. Andrews
Abstract
The proposition that man is the only animal capable of laughter is at least as old as Aristotle. In a strictly physical sense, this is probably false; but it is undoubtedly true that as a psychologically expressive and socially potent means of communication, laughter is a distinctively human phenomenon. Any attempt to study sets of cultural attitudes towards laughter, or the particular types of personal conduct which these attitudes shape and influence, must certainly adopt a wider perspective than a narrowly physical definition of laughter will allow. Throughout this paper, which will attempt to establish part of the framework of such a cultural analysis for the Greek world of, broadly speaking, the archaic and classical periods, ‘laughter’ must be taken, by a convenient synecdoche, to encompass the many behavioural and affective patterns which are associated with, or which characteristically give scope for, uses of laughter in the literal sense of the word. My concern, then, is with a whole network of feelings, concepts and actions; and my argument will try to elucidate the practices within which laughter fulfils a recognizable function in Greek societies, as well as the dominant ideas and values which Greek thought brings to bear upon these practices. The results of the enquiry will, I believe, give us some reason to accept a rapprochement between the universalist assumption for which my epigraph from Johnson speaks and the recognition of cultural specificity in laughter's uses for which many anthropologists would argue, as emphatically asserted, from a Marxizing point of view, in the quotation from Vladimir Propp.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/s0009838800004468
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 51,447
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Offense to Others.Bernard Gert - 1987 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 48 (1):147-153.
Comic Satire and Freedom of Speech in Classical Athens.Stephen Halliwell - 1991 - Journal of Hellenic Studies 111:48-70.
“Charientic” Judgments.Peter Glassen - 1958 - Philosophy 33 (125):138-.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

As If We Were Codgers: Flattery, Parrhēsia and Old Man Demos in Aristophanes’ Knights.Elizabeth Markovits - 2012 - Polis: The Journal for Ancient Greek Political Thought 29 (1):108-129.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Uses of Laughter in Greek Culture.Stephen Halliwell - 1991 - Classical Quarterly 41 (02):279-.
“Exposing the Rogue in Us”.Annie Hounsokou - 2012 - Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy 16 (2):317-336.
Nietzsche’s Joy: On Laughter’s Truth.Jason M. Wirth - 2005 - Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy 10 (1):117-139.
Belief and the Basis of Humor.Niall Shanks & Hugh LaFollette - 1993 - American Philosophical Quarterly 30 (4):329-39.
Notation and Expression of Emotion in Operatic Laughter.Robert R. Provine - 2008 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 31 (5):591-592.
Laughter, Freshness, and Titillation.Karl Pfeifer - 1997 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 40 (3):307 – 322.
Nietzsche’s Joy.Jason M. Wirth - 2005 - Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy 10 (1):117-139.
The Philosophy of Laughter and Humor.John Morreall (ed.) - 1986 - State University of New York Press.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2017-02-20

Total views
11 ( #759,074 of 2,330,353 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #393,610 of 2,330,353 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes