Conceptually Distinguishing Mirth, Humor, and Comedy. A Philosophical Analysis

Author: Kort, Eva
Year:2015
Pages:116
ISBN:1-4955-0287-2
978-1-4955-0287-3
Price:99.95
This book opens a new dialogue for philosophical treatments of humor and comedy. It traces their history from the Dionysian Performance Tradition and brings a fresh perspective to the issue as it recasts standard interpretations of the Aristotelian theory in broader terms that offer new grounds for distinguishing ‘humor’, ‘comedy’ and ‘mirth’.

Reviews

“Kort suggests that the usual interpretation of Aristotle’s comments on comedy does not address all he had to say and that some passages in Aristotle’s known works, including Nicomachean Ethics, suggest that Aristotle had a theory of humor quite apart from his treatment of comedy… She suggests that humor is best studied as an everyday life occurrence and not as a performance art,…Such conclusions are potentially revolutionary…they call for a reevaluation of the foundations of the contemporary philosophy of humor on the grounds that the traditional approach to the field is conceptually confused…we may be on the verge of a revolution in the field, which is an exciting prospect for those dissatisfied with the confusions involved in the contemporary treatments of comedy, humor, and laughter.”
-Richard C. Richards,
Professor of Philosophy Emeritus,
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona


“Kort does not suggest that the rich and growing body of literature on comedy/humor in philosophy should be disregarded. Instead, she points out the importance of recognizing that these writings have concentrated only on one option for ways to consider humor…. In doing so, they have focused more on the tools of humor than on humor per se. If the Mirth Tradition comes to be taken into account by writers as she suggests, this would increase the depth and breadth of studies on this subject.”
-Dr. Ronald S. Green,
Dept. of Philosophy and Religious Studies,
Coastal Carolina University


“The most important scholarly contribution of the book is that it opens a new approach to the philosophical treatment of humor. Kort suggests – and I am persuaded by her argument—that we should understand and study humor as an everyday event rather than an artistic performance. This new approach to humor is bound to encourage other thinkers to reexamine the basic assumptions which underlie the philosophical treatment of humor… [this] is the beginning of a very fruitful and productive discussion of the philosophical treatment of humor in the future.”
- Professor Nils Rauhut,
Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies,
Coastal Carolina University


Table of Contents

FOREWORD BY RICHARD C. RICHARDS
Chapter 1.
THE CASE AGAINST PHILOSOPHICAL TREATMENTS OF HUMOR
The Charges
The Art of Comedy/Humor and Comedy/Humor per se
Pairing Comedy/Humor and Tragedy
Tendencies in Philosophical Treatments of Comedy/Humor
A Tendency to Focus on the Effects of Comedy/Humor
Concluding Remarks

Chapter 2.
ARISTOTLE’S POETICS AND THE DIONYSIAN PERFORMANCE TRADITION
The Traditional Pairing of Tragedy and Comedy
Apollo, Dionysus, and the Song of Komos
‘Comedy’ in Aristotle’s Poetics
Pairing Comedy with Tragedy
Poetry and its Kinds
Aristotle on Comedy: A Suggestion
Comedy and (Ethical) Character
Concluding Remarks

Chapter 3.
RECOVERING MIRTH
The Charities
Mirth
Concluding Remarks

Chapter 4.
ARISTOTLE’S ‘MIRTH’
Aristotelian Ethics and the Charities ‘Humor’ in the Ethics
Friendship and Pleasantness...and Mirth?
Aristotle, ‘Humor’, and ‘Comedy’
Concluding Remarks

BIBLIOGRAPHY
INDEX