Laughing at Nothing: Humor as a Response to Nihilism

SUNY Press (2003)
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Abstract

Disputing the common misconception that nihilism is wholly negative and necessarily damaging to the human spirit, John Marmysz offers a clear and complete definition to argue that it is compatible, and indeed preferably responded to, with an attitude of good humor. He carefully scrutinizes the phenomenon of nihilism as it appears in the works, lives, and actions of key figures in the history of philosophy, literature, politics, and theology, including Nietzsche, Heidegger, Camus, and Mishima. While suggesting that there ultimately is no solution to the problem of nihilism, Marmysz proposes a way of utilizing the anxiety and despair that is associated with the problem as a spur toward liveliness, activity, and the celebration of life.

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Author's Profile

John Marmysz
College of Marin

Citations of this work

Subversive Humor as Art and the Art of Subversive Humor.Chris A. Kramer - 2020 - The Philosophy of Humor Yearbook 1 (1):153–179.
An Ethos of Affirmative Laughter in Nietzsche’s Zarathustra.Andrea Hurst - 2020 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 58 (4):547-573.
An Existentialist account of the role of humor against oppression.Chris A. Kramer - 2013 - Humor: International Journal of Humor Research 26 (4).
The Objectivity of Nihilism.Gregor Schiemann - 2016 - Divinatio. Studia Culturologica 41 (Autumn-winter 2015):7-29.

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References found in this work

Existentialism is a Humanism.Sartre Jean-Paul - 1996 - Yale University Press.
What is metaphysics?Martin Heidegger - 1988 - In Martin Heidegger & Werner Brock (eds.), Existence and being. [U.S.]: Kampmann.
Startle.Jenefer Robinson - 1995 - Journal of Philosophy 92 (2):53-74.
Laughter.Roger Scruton & Peter Jones - 1982 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 56 (1):197-228.

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