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CUT TO THE CHEESE – REPLY TO SPIEGEL'S ‘WHY FLATULENCE IS FUNNY’

  • Steffen Steinert
Abstract

In number 35 of Think, James Spiegel presents reasons for why flatulence is funny. In this article I will address five issues that I find problematic in his account: (1)

His claim that laughter always results from a pleasant psychological shift is false.

(2)

His argumentative move from what makes paradigm cases funny to what makes flatulence funny is unwarranted.

(3)

His notion of a psychological shift is not specific enough and lacks explanatory power.

(4)

The claim that funniness of flatulence involves superiority is doubtful.

(5)

His talk about ‘nervous energy’ is questionable and has implausible implications.

Copyright
References
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Bergson, Henri (1914) Laughter: An Essay on the Meaning of the Comic (New York: Macmillan).
Critchley, Simon (2002) On Humour (London and New York: Routledge).
Hurley, R. A., Dennett, D. C., and Adams, R. B. Jr (2011) Inside Jokes (Cambridge MA and London: MIT Press).
Morreall, John (2009) Comic Relief: A Comprehensive Philosophy of Humor (Malden and Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell).
Ribeiro, Brian (2008) ‘A Distance Theory of Humour’, Think 6.17/18 (2008), 139–48.
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Think
  • ISSN: 1477-1756
  • EISSN: 1755-1196
  • URL: /core/journals/think
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