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Instructors: Matt Kotzen and Ram Neta. This seminar meets on Wednesdays from 11:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. in Caldwell 208.

We will discuss various philosophical issues related to laughter and humor. In the first unit of the course, we will discuss historical (e.g., Plato, Aristotle, Hobbes, Descartes, Kant, Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard, Freud) and contemporary theories of humor. In the second unit, we will discuss the aesthetic dimensions of humor and make contact with some of the aesthetics literature. In the third unit, we will discuss various ethical dimensions of humor, including “when it is wrong to laugh” and what makes some jokes racist, sexist, homophobic, or otherwise ethically problematic.

Matt Kotzen’s webpage

Ram Neta’s webpage