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Publisher's Summary

In recent decades, the philosophy of humor has been recognized as a legitimate subfield of philosophy. The reason for this? Because to understand how humor works is to better understand the nature of human experience.

In these 24 insightful, informative, illuminating, and (yes) humorous lectures, explore the philosophical theories and explanations of humor, from blatantly obvious puns to complex narratives to sly twists of language. Rooted in analytic philosophy, the natural and social sciences, and the observations of thinkers ranging from Aristotle and Jonathan Swift to Sigmund Freud and Robert Latta, these lectures will leave you with a stronger appreciation of the jokes you tell and the jokes you hear.

You’ll ponder the possible universality of humor in history and culture, the debate over humor’s objectivity or subjectivity, and the complex relationship between humor and tragedy. You’ll also unpack each of the six existing theories of humor, including the superiority theory (in which to joke is to mock and put someone beneath your level) and play theory (in which humor is a species of the phenomenon of play). 

You don’t need a philosophy degree to explore the philosophy of humor. All you need is an open mind. (A funny bone or two helps as well.)

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio. 

©2018 The Great Courses (P)2018 The Teaching Company, LLC

What listeners say about Take My Course, Please! The Philosophy of Humor

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Good stuff

I really enjoyed this course/audio it had some great jokes and the ideas when fascinating to hear and think about. Steven Gimbel was really awesome to learn from and I definitely want too listen to more of his courses.

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  • LaPortaMA
  • 21-02-2019

funny,

overall I enjoyed it obviously. Parts of this are really a college course. The professor reads his own material. He is able to detect the nature of humor and also the history of previous philosophers who have addressed the question of the nature of humor. Anyway it's good if you have the time. One thing I noticed, and I can't prove this by any means, statistically or otherwise, is that over the five days it took to listen to this while I was in my car traveling, I actually felt myself being elevated into and through humor, and somehow somewhere the things I said. More of a laugh, without even trying! There's a lesson in there somewhere.

10 people found this helpful

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  • P. K. Bellville
  • 04-04-2019

This is no joke

This book is about the philosophy of humor which means it is about philosophy. I think philosophers are a joke, but so does the author. He has no problem joking about himself. This makes the material much more assessable. But like lots of philosophy, the book gets convoluted and difficult in places. Philosophers like to argue, and if they can't find an opponent they will argue with themselves. The first joke is on you because the picture on the cover is not the author. Each lecture starts off with a joke which is not as audible as the main body of the lecture. I like this book or course and recommend it. This is as funny as philosophy gets. Now I must share a joke or two not in the book. "You can lead a horse to water, but a pencil must be led." ~ Stan Laurel. "Time flies like an arrow, but fruit flies like a banana." ~ Groucho Marx. I believe the author would call these script jokes as described in chapter 8. Have fun.

6 people found this helpful

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  • @SupaMalaman
  • 07-06-2019

Absurdly Educational

I learned, I laughed, I loved. My favorite course thus far. Far funnier than most courses & packed to the brim with philosophy. As an avid consumer of philosophy this course opened my mind to many concepts & schools of thought about something I had never thought deeply about. If you’re interested in humour or philosophy in general this is for you, if you have no interest in either, you probably will after this course.

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  • Brett Green
  • 15-03-2019

Funny and interesting

Okay, so the jokes that begin each lecture are pretty lame--deliberately so. But, the course is really interesting--who knew that you could get almost 12 hours of lectures on the philosophy of humor. Gimbel is an excellent lecturer and clearly has a grasp on the subject. Like all philosophy, you won't get any real answers, but you will enjoy the ride.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 27-08-2020

Full of liberal opinion

Has some decent information, but it seems, knowingly or unknowingly, the lecturer could not help but to insert his personal opinions...

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  • Michael Quinn
  • 05-05-2019

Great for Those thinking about starting comedy

I feel this was very well done I liked the narrators voice and mannerisms you actually get an idea of his personality and comedy while listening I listened to it probably five times already I love it

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  • Amazo
  • 16-11-2020

Great Course

Solid study of the philosophy of humor. The middle third is useful for the listener that wants to practice philosophy.

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  • suddenly subtle
  • 11-02-2019

amazing lectures!

I now have a much better appreciation for humor from a philosophical standpoint. these lectures are timeless.

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  • Silvia THE COFFEE LOVER
  • 09-06-2019

decieving tittle

not at all what expected, I thought it was about jokes and that I was going to be laughing, not studying how comedy was invented

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  • Mr. J. A. Ball
  • 02-06-2020

Very enjoyable and interesting

The great courses series are almost always fantastic and interesting. I feel educated and would like to learn more about humour theory. Highly recommended.

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  • Sebastian Meiser
  • 03-01-2019

Indeed philosophy

The course asks questions and gives no answers (even though some of the questions clearly could be answered. It's an interesting and somewhat amusing journey (although almost none of the many jokes resonated with me). I was a bit disappointed with the strong focus on ancient views of the mind (Plato, Aristotle, Freud).

1 person found this helpful

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