PHIL 4450: Special Topics:
Philosophy of Humor

Student Materials

Syllabus

First Paper

Second Paper

1. Course Introduction

HUMOR

2. “A Brief History of Humor Theories” by Matthew M. Hurley, Daniel C. Dennett, and Reginald B. Adams, Jr. (PDF)

3. Philebus (selections) by Plato (PDF), Poetics (selections) and Nicomachean Ethics (selections) by Aristotle (PDF), and Leviathan (selections) and Human Nature (selections) by Thomas Hobbes (PDF)

4. Reflections Upon Laughter (selections) by Francis Hutcheson (PDF), Critique of Judgement (selections) by Immanuel Kant (PDF), and The World As Will and Idea (selections) by Arthur Schopenhauer (PDF)

5. “The Physiology of Laughter” by Herbet Spencer (PDF) and “Humor” by Sigmund Freud (PDF)

6. “A New Theory of Laughter” by John Morreall (PDF)

7. Something...

JOKES

8. Jokes: Philosophical Thoughts on Joking Matters by Ted Cohen, pp. 1-45 (Amazon.com)

9. Jokes: Philosophical Thoughts on Joking Matters by Ted Cohen, pp. 45-86 (Amazon.com)

STAND-UP COMEDY

10. All Joking Aside: American Humor and Its Discontents by Rebecca Krefting, pp. 36-68 (Amazon.com)

11. All Joking Aside: American Humor and Its Discontents by Rebecca Krefting, pp. 67-105 (Amazon.com)

12. All Joking Aside: American Humor and Its Discontents by Rebecca Krefting, pp. 106-136 (Amazon.com)

13. Film: Richard Pryor: Live in Concert

14. Film: Hannah Gadsby: Nanette

15. Guest: Liz Sills

THE ETHICS OF HUMOR

16. “When Is It Wrong to Laugh?” by Ronald de Sousa (PDF)

17. “The Ethics of Humor: Can Your Sense of Humor Be Wrong?” by Aaron Smuts (PDF)

18. Something...

19. Guest: LeShane Lindsey

20. Film: The Last Laugh

21. Film: The Last Laugh 

HUMOR, POWER, AND POLARIZATION

22. Cracking Up: American Humor in a Time of Conflict by Paul Lewis, pp. 1-62 (Amazon.com)

23. Cracking Up: American Humor in a Time of Conflict by Paul Lewis, pp. 63-107 (Amazon.com)

24. Cracking Up: American Humor in a Time of Conflict by Paul Lewis, pp. 109-154 (Amazon.com)

25. Cracking Up: American Humor in a Time of Conflict by Paul Lewis, pp. 155-199 (Amazon.com)

26. Videos: Stephen Colbert at the WHCA Dinner (Link) and Michelle Wolf at the WHCA Dinner (Link)

27. “Humor as a Response to Nihilism” by John Marmysz (PDF)

28. 

© Douglas Ficek