On laughter

Hind, Reuben. (2014) On laughter. Masters thesis, University of Wales, Trinity St David.

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Abstract

Much of Western Philosophy has overlooked the central importance which human beings attribute to the Aesthetic experiences. The phenomena of laughter and comedy have largely been passed over as “too subjective” or highly emotive and therefore resistant to philosophical analysis, because they do not easily lend themselves to the imposition of Absolutist or strongly theory-driven perspectives. The existence of the phenomena of laughter and comedy are highly valued because they are viewed as strongly communal activities and expressions. These actually facilitate our experiences as inherently social beings, and our philosophical understanding of ourselves as beings, who experience passions and life itself amidst a world of fluctuating meanings and human drives. I will illustrate how the study of “Aesthetics” developed from Ancient Greek conceptions, through the post-Kantian and post-Romantic periods, which opened-up a pathway to the explicit consideration of the phenomena of laughter and comedy, with particular reference to the Apollonian/Dionysian conceptual schemata referred to in Nietzsche’s early works. I will demonstrate how our understandings and experiences of the phenomena facilitate the meaningful nature of our relationships with human beings and the natural world as a whole, due to their ability to facilitate states of communal existence and to convey both linguistic and non-linguistic understandings of the meaning and value of life. Comedy and laughter also allow us to communicate integral human experiences which are highly resistant to purely linguistic expression and analysis. I will also highlight the value of laughter as a Dionysian, communal phenomena and expression, which possesses many Apollonian qualities because its drive can be channeled (via the medium of comedy), into the expression of deeply philosophical and social issues, such as our moral beliefs, the nature of meaning itself and the nature of the interrelations between individuals and also of those between persons and their society.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Additional Information: Series: Carmarthen / Lampeter Dissertations.;.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Philosophy, western
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BH Aesthetics
Divisions: Theses and Dissertations > Masters Dissertations
Depositing User: John Dalling
Date Deposited: 22 Sep 2014 11:04
Last Modified: 18 Feb 2016 12:00
URI: http://repository.uwtsd.ac.uk/id/eprint/337

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