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In: In Search of Identity
In: Free Will, Causality, and Neuroscience
In: The Relational Horse
In: The Relational Horse
In: Posthuman?

Abstract

In this paper I analyze the relation between understanding a joke and laughing about it. To be more explicit, I seek to investigate whether one of them comes first, and if so, which, or whether they come jointly. I elaborate my position by defending the claim that performed jokes, in successful cases, elicit a response in which laughter and understanding occur simultaneously. To develop this theory, I determine the conditions that must be met in order to allow for a joke performance to be successful. This ideal situation of ‘successful joking’ is given if and only if the recipient both understands the joke and laughs about it. By putting laughter and understanding on an equal footing in my model, I support the idea that the pleasure we experience in joke reception is based both on insight and entertainment. By establishing my model of simultaneity (L/U), I challenge two other positions. The first one suggests that laughter, as a triumphant expression of successful ‘data integrity checking’ in the reception of a joke, is based on and follows understanding (U-L). The other position regards laughter as the primary phenomenon of the joke and insights only as potential side-effects (L-[U]).

In: Philosophy of Humour
In: Dreams, Nature, and Practices as Signs of the Future in the Middle Ages
In: In Search of Identity
In: Dreams, Nature, and Practices as Signs of the Future in the Middle Ages
In: Dreams, Nature, and Practices as Signs of the Future in the Middle Ages