PHIL 180.001 – Philosophy of Comedy

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Instructor: Dominik Berger. This course meets MTWRF 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. in CW 208.

This is a course on various philosophical issues related to laughter and humor. The course is roughly divided into three sections: 1) Historical and contemporary philosophical theories of humor; 2) Connections between more traditional issues in philosophical aesthetics and the philosophy of humor; and 3) Moral questions about humor, including the question of what makes some jokes racist/sexist/heterosexist/etc. and the question of how humor and morality interact. In addition to reading primary sources, we will also have a look at sketches, jokes, etc. in order to analyze how the theories we study are exemplified in the work of different comedians. This course satisfies the PH general education requirement and presupposes no prior knowledge of Philosophy.