Studia Z Historii Filozofii 6 (4):149-174 (2016)

Rafał Michalski
Nicolaus Copernicus University
The purpose of this article is a critical reconstruction of the Platonic conception of laughter, which is presented primarily in Republic and Philebus. A comic quality calls, in his opinion, to lower emotions, it throws human mind out of balance and undermines the prevailing order of values. The philosopher associates a laughter with the feeling of envy, which comes down to the joy of humiliating of someone weaker. The comic envy - as opposed to passive jealousy - almost automatically leads to the activity, to the enhancement of humiliation. Laughter is caused according to Plato by a defect resulting from the ignorance about himself. The key feature of the comic situation is the asymmetry between the victim's weakness and the strength of a laughing person. Plato's concept of laughter turns out to be one-sided, when we compare it with "laughter of Democritus" which serves as a therapeutic and catharctic means. Laughter is here a clear signal that initiates the critical reflection on himself and gives impetus to a change of attitude towards the world. In his writings Plato did not include such educational and cognitive aspects of laughter because in his philosophy it becomes a specific antagonist of true knowledge. The negative attitude towards laughter does not go hand in hand with Plato’s recognition of Socrates, who used irony as a key element in his method of inquiry leading to truth.
Keywords Platon  śmiech  Homer  Home  , Democritus  ironia  Plato  irony  komedia  Demokryt  Sokrates  comedy  Socrates  laughter
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