In Julien Deonna Emma Tieffenbach (ed.), Petite Dictionnaire des Valeurs (forthcoming)

Aaron Smuts
Rhode Island College
Most everything one might think about humor is in dispute. Only a few negative claims are fairly clear. Does humor always involve feelings of superiority? Probably not. But what properties do objects need in order to be amusing? Most plausibly, humorous objects present non-threatening incongruities. However, not all such incongruities are amusing. So there must be something more. What is the connection between feelings of amusement and laughter? Amusement typically leads to laughter, but not always. And we often laugh simply out of nervousness. Could someone feel intense amusement and not have the slightest urge to laugh? Is amusement an emotion like fear, anger, or embarrassment? Pre-reflectively it seems so, but amusement is curiously different: it lacks concern, something we find in all other standard emotional responses. Many think that we can rationally justify at least some emotional responses. It seems that anger, for instance, can be appropriate or inappropriate. Can the same be said of amusement? Some people do seem to laugh inappropriately, but it's hard to think that they have incorrectly evaluated something as humorous.
Keywords humor  emotion  laughter
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Translate to english
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 54,676
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

The Philosophy of Laughter and Humor.John Morreall (ed.) - 1986 - State University of New York Press.
Taking Laughter Seriously.John Morreall - 1983 - State University of New York Press.
Humour: A Very Short Introduction.Noël Carroll - 2014 - Oxford University Press.
Taking Laughter Seriously.Joseph H. Kupfer - 1984 - Journal of Aesthetic Education 18 (1):124.

View all 6 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Belief and the Basis of Humor.Niall Shanks & Hugh LaFollette - 1993 - American Philosophical Quarterly 30 (4):329-39.
Truly Funny: Humor, Irony, and Satire as Moral Criticism.E. M. Dadlez - 2011 - Journal of Aesthetic Education 45 (1):1-17.
The Philosophy of Laughter and Humor.John Morreall (ed.) - 1986 - State University of New York Press.
Humor, Sublimity and Incongruity.John Marmysz - 2001 - Consciousness, Literature and the Arts 2 (3).
Humor and the Virtues.Robert C. Roberts - 1988 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 31 (2):127 – 149.
Disrupting Humor: A Critical Study of Philosophical Theories of Humor.Elizabeth Rucki - 1993 - Dissertation, Queen's University at Kingston (Canada)
Philosophy of Humor.Joshua Shaw - 2010 - Philosophy Compass 5 (2):112-126.
Do Moral Flaws Enhance Amusement?Aaron Smuts - 2009 - American Philosophical Quarterly 46 (2):151-163.
Bergson und die Phänomenologie des Lachens.Rolf Kühn - 2010 - Studia Phaenomenologica 10:359-383.
Laughter, Freshness, and Titillation.Karl Pfeifer - 1997 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 40 (3):307 – 322.
Just Joking: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Humor.Berys Nigel Gaut - 1998 - Philosophy and Literature 22 (1):51-68.
Humor: The Beauty and the Beast.Glenn A. Hartz & Ralph Hunt - 1991 - American Philosophical Quarterly 28 (4):299 - 309.


Added to PP index

Total views
20 ( #503,859 of 2,386,408 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #368,857 of 2,386,408 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes