Superiority in Humor Theory

In this article, I consider the standard interpretation of the superiority theory of humor attributed to Plato, Aristotle, and Hobbes, according to which the theory allegedly places feelings of superiority at the center of humor and comic amusement. The view that feelings of superiority are at the heart of all comic amusement is wildly implausible. Therefore textual evidence for the interpretation of Plato, Aristotle, or Hobbes as offering the superiority theory as an essentialist theory of humor is worth careful consideration. Through textual analysis I argue that not one of these three philosophers defends an essentialist theory of comic amusement. I also discuss the way various theories of humor relate to one another and the proper place of a superiority theory in humor theory in light of my analysis.
Keywords humor  superiority  Hobbes  Plato  comedy
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DOI 10.1111/jaac.12321
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References found in this work BETA

Racist Humor.Luvell Anderson - 2015 - Philosophy Compass 10 (8):501-509.
Philosophy of Humor.Joshua Shaw - 2010 - Philosophy Compass 5 (2):112-126.
Humor.Aaron Smuts - 2006 - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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Humor.Aaron Smuts - 2006 - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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The Incongruity of Incongruity Theories of Humor.Tomáš Kulka - 2007 - Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 14 (3):320-333.
Truly Funny: Humor, Irony, and Satire as Moral Criticism.E. M. Dadlez - 2011 - Journal of Aesthetic Education 45 (1):1-17.
L'Humor.Aaron Smuts - forthcoming - In Julien Deonna Emma Tieffenbach (ed.), Petite Dictionnaire des Valeurs.
Philosophy of Humor.Joshua Shaw - 2010 - Philosophy Compass 5 (2):112-126.


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