South African Journal of Philosophy 25 (2):126-137 (2006)

Ward E. Jones
Rhodes University
Once we establish that the fundamental subject matter of the study of humour is a mental state – which I will call finding funny – then it immediately follows that we need to find the content and function of this mental state. The main contender for the content of finding funny is the incongruous (the incongruity thesis ); the main contenders for the function of finding funny are grounded either in its generally being an enjoyable state (the gratification thesis ) or its tendency to lead to biased social attitudes (the favouritism thesis ). While all three of these families of claims are well-supported and individually plausible, the situation looks different once we attempt to unify our accounts of the content and function of finding funny . While functions based in the gratification thesis readily combine with the incongruity thesis, it is not at all clear how the phenomenon described by the favouritism thesis arises from a state with this content. The upshot is that we may have to sideline the favouritism thesis in our theory of humour. South African Journal of Philosophy Vol. 25(2) 2006: 126-137
Keywords Amusement  Function  Humor  Mental States  Metaphysics
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DOI 10.4314/sajpem.v25i2.31439
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References found in this work BETA

Humour and Incongruity.Michael Clark - 1970 - Philosophy 45 (171):20 - 32.
A New Theory of Laughter.John Morreall - 1982 - Philosophical Studies 42 (2):243 - 254.

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Citations of this work BETA

Subversive Humor.Chris A. Kramer - 2015 - Dissertation, Marquette
Subversive Humor as Art and the Art of Subversive Humor.Chris A. Kramer - 2020 - The Philosophy of Humor Yearbook 1 (1):153–179.
Philosophy and Laughter: Introductory Notes.Abraham Olivier - 2020 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 58 (4):490-499.
Humor and Sympathy in Medical Practice.Carter Hardy - 2020 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 23 (2):179-190.

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