School of Education professor publishes new book on humor
Sept. 24, 2013 - Mordechai Gordon, a professor in the School of Education, has published a new book entitled, "Humor, Laughter and Human Flourishing: A Philosophical Exploration of the Laughing Animal."
"The central questions threaded throughout this volume are: What does the study of humor and laughter bring to philosophy and specifically to philosophy of education? How is humorist thinking different from other modes of human knowing? What might happen if we were to respond to the absurdity of human existence with humor and laughter? What insights can be learned from a philosophical investigation of humor in relationship to other human phenomena such as dreams, friendship, intimacy, aesthetic experience and self-transcendence? And, finally, how can humor and laughter enhance human existence and flourishing?" Gordon said.
Published in August, "Humor, Laughter and Human Flourishing: A Philosophical Exploration of the Laughing Animal," is Gordon's fifth book and first on the subject of humor.
Gordon said he began to think about this project during a trip to London with his daughter in which they attended numerous comedic theater shows.
"Viewing all these comedies made me realize how much I enjoyed comedy and humor," Gordon said. "When I got back to the States, I started researching to see if anybody had done research on humor and laughter in the context of my field and discipline, which is philosophy of education. I discovered that really not much, if anything, had been written on it. That led to writing my first article on the topic, which became the last chapter of this book, "Learning to Laugh at Ourselves."
The 110-page book, published by Stringer Press, is available at the Quinnipiac bookstore and Amazon.com. Gordon's previous books are: "Hannah Arendt and Education: Renewing our Common World;" "Ten Common Myths in American Education;" "Bridging Theory and Practice in Teacher Education;" and "Reclaiming Dissent: Civics' Education for the 21st Century."
"Renewing our Common World: Hannah Arendt and Education" and "Reclaiming Dissent: Civics' Education for the 21st Century" won Critics' Choice awards from the American Educational Studies Association in 2002 and 2009, respectively.
"I'm kind of an eclectic thinker and researcher," Gordon said. "I don't write books to make money. I'd rather write a book that I can look myself in the mirror and be proud of than a book that's going to sell thousands of copies."
Gordon added that he will use his latest book in his Philosophy of Humor course.
"At least I know that 20 people are going to read it," he joked.
Gordon came to Quinnipiac in 2001 and earned the Quinnipiac Outstanding Faculty Scholar award in 2009. He has also been a professor at Brooklyn College, Adelphi University, the State University of New York at New Paltz and Levinski College of Education in Tel-Aviv, Israel.
Gordon earned a bachelor's degree in philosophy from Ohio University, a master's degree in psychology from Duquesne University and master's and doctorate degrees in philosophy of education from Columbia University.