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Taking Laughter Seriously Paperback – June 30, 1983

ISBN-13: 978-0873956437 ISBN-10: 0873956435

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Taking Laughter Seriously + Laughter: An Essay on the Meaning of the Comic - Henri Bergson + Philebus (Hackett Classics)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 154 pages
  • Publisher: State University of New York Press (June 30, 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0873956435
  • ISBN-13: 978-0873956437
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #540,973 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

John Morreall, Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Northwestern University, has published numerous articles on philosophy and linguistics. He is the author of Analogy and Talking about God.

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By Luis O. Ortiz on February 18, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ordered for daughters class, liked the story. Part of a literature high school class, ordered by high school teacher. Daughter enjoyed reading book, even if it was assigned.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Gontar on November 8, 2013
Format: Paperback
Professor Morreall has written about the essence or definition of humor as well as many other aspects. But his contribution is supposed to be an improvement in the definition, the "theory of humor." He has not added much to his earliest attempt. A simple argument shows that the whole theory is false.

First, the pleasure experienced in humor is not mainly intellectual or aesthetic, like that experienced in classical art or mathematics. This is one weakness of Morreall's theory (in addition to there being non-humorous pleasurable incongruities). For example, the incongruities actually found in humor, between belief and reality, strength and weakness, etc. constitute humor, but not by producing "pleasure" in a vague and trivial sense.

The kind of pleasure in question is appetitive but it also has an indirect or imitative quality that Morreall does not care to note. But the main problem is that there are several kinds of pleasurable incongruity that are not humor, if we take Morreall's vague idea of pleasure or if we clarify it further. The contrast between heat and cold is one example. Cold or coolness is desired in itself, as an escape from uncomfortable heat, but we also seek the contrast in cooling off. The desire to be different, to stand out or be original is also a desire for incongruity, and a pleasure in it. But one could multiply such examples perhaps ad infinitum. It does not help to add the term "playfulness" as Morreall later does, perhaps suspecting that his earlier view was insufficient. The theory of humor as pleasant and playful incongruity is thus easily refuted.
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