PL 331 - Philosophy of Humor
(3 cr.) Throughout most of the history of Western philosophy, the assessment of humor has not been kind. Indeed, not only Plato and Aristotle but also Descartes and Hobbes generally viewed humor with scorn and tended to focus on the negative rather than positive aspects of humor. Humor theorist John Morreall even goes so far to argue that it wasn't until well into the 20th century that humor gained even a semblance of respect among philosophers. This course explores the nature and value of humor in our daily lives and examines humor critically as a virtue that can help us take ourselves less seriously and live better lives. Students analyze the major accounts of humor such as the superiority, incongruity and relief theories highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of each theory. Adopting a critical philosophical lens, students also explore some important connections between humor and aesthetics, ethics and education. Prerequisite: PL 101 or QU 101; Every Other Year, Fall

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