Philosophy of Humour

New Perspectives


This volume aims to reignite interest in a sorely neglected field within philosophy: the philosophy of humour. Indeed, although humour, jokes and laughter make up a quintessentially human domain of extreme universal importance, it has not received the sustained and involved attention and investigation that it merits. This volume draws on theories both distant and more nearby in order to contemporize the discussion into the 21st century, with each of the ten contributions demonstrating just how many perspectives and conversations are to be had, both on theoretical and concrete levels, now and going forward.

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Daniel O’Shiel is an independent researcher and teacher in philosophy, with main expertise and interests in phenomenology, existentialism, philosophical anthropology and philosophy of technology. Amongst his publications are two books entitled Sartre and Magic (2019) and The Phenomenology of Virtual Technology (2022).

Viktoras Bachmetjevas is an Associate Professor at Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas, Lithuania. He works in the field of continental ethics, with special interest in its intersections with philosophy of religion. He has published on Kierkegaard, Levinas and 20th-century French philosophy.
Notes on Contributors

  Viktoras Bachmetjevas and Daniel O’Shiel

Part 1
Humour and the History of Philosophy
1 Something Better than Comedy
  David F. Hoinski

2 Sublime, Beautiful, Funny: Humour in §54 of Kant’s Third Critique
  David Sommer

3 The Comic as an Existential Category in Kierkegaard’s Thought
  Viktoras Bachmetjevas

Part 2
New Theoretical Contributions
4 Prolegomena to a Revised Theory of Humour
  Alberto Voltolini

5 ‘Aha!/Haha! – That’s a Good One!’ On the Correlation of Laughter and Understanding in Joke Reception
  Mira Magdalena Sickinger

6 Hidden Congruities
  Daniel O’Shiel

Part 3
Humour, Morality, Feminism and Politics
7 Fat Jokes and the Problem of Parody
  Sarah W. Hirschfield

8 A Funny Taste: Immoral Humour and Unwilling Amusement
  Zoe Walker

9 Feminism’s Look at Itself: Self-hygiene through the Prism of Laughter
  Teodora Marija Grigaitė

10 The Carnival of Populism: Grotesque Leadership
  Maura Ceci


Anyone interested in philosophy of humour, both its history and contemporary relevance. Anyone studying or working in academia, as well as some inquisitive and studious people outside, should find some portion of the contributions useful, interesting and accessible, depending on their own interests and aims.
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