Taking Humour (Ethics) Seriously, But Not Too Seriously

Journal of Practical Ethics, Vol 2(1)

20 Pages Posted: 25 Jul 2014

See all articles by David Benatar

David Benatar

University of Cape Town - Department of Philosophy

Date Written: June 1, 2014

Abstract

Humour is worthy of serious ethical consideration. However, it is often taken far too seriously. In this paper, it is argued that while humour is sometimes unethical, it is wrong much less often than many people think. Non-contextual criticisms, which claim that certain kinds of humour are always wrong, are rejected. Contextual criticisms, which take issue with particular instances of humour rather than types of humour, are more promising. However, it is common to overstate the number of contexts in which humour is wrong. Various mistakes of this kind are highlighted and cautioned against.

Suggested Citation

Benatar, David, Taking Humour (Ethics) Seriously, But Not Too Seriously (June 1, 2014). Journal of Practical Ethics, Vol 2(1). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2464556

David Benatar (Contact Author)

University of Cape Town - Department of Philosophy ( email )

Private Bag X3
Rondebosch, Western Cape 7701
South Africa

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