Noël Carroll

in The Oxford Handbook of Aesthetics

Published in print January 2005 | ISBN: 9780199279456
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191577239 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy


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Humour is a pervasive feature of human life. It's found everywhere — at work and at play, in private and public affairs. Sometimes we make it ourselves; often we pay others to create it for us, including playwrights, novelists, filmmakers, stand-up comics, clowns, and so on. According to some, like Rabelais, humour is alleged to be distinctively human, a property of our species and no other. But even if that is not the case, humour seems to be a nearly universal component of human societies. Thus, it should come as no surprise that it has been a perennial topic for philosophy — especially for philosophers ambitious enough to attempt to comment on every facet of human life. Plato believed that the laughter that attends humour is directed at vice, particularly at the vice of self-unawareness.

Keywords: human societies; humour; Plato; self-unawareness; human life; public affairs

Article.  10754 words. 

Subjects: Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art

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