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Steven Gimbel

Isn’t That Clever

A Philosophical Account of Humor and Comedy

Routledge 2018

New Books in AnthropologyNew Books in Arts & LettersNew Books in LanguageNew Books in Literary StudiesNew Books in PhilosophyNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books Network August 6, 2018 Robert Talisse

Humor and its varied manifestations—jesting joking around, goofing, lampooning, and so on—pervade the human experience and are plausibly regarded as necessary features of interpersonal...

Humor and its varied manifestations—jesting joking around, goofing, lampooning, and so on—pervade the human experience and are plausibly regarded as necessary features of interpersonal interactions.  As one would expect, these pervasive phenomena occasion philosophical questions.  What renders some item or event humorous?  Are funny jokes objectively so?  As humor is a mode of interacting with others, can it be deployed irresponsibly?  Can it be harmful and impermissible?  What is the relation between humor and comedy?  What is a comedian?

In Isn’t That Clever: A Philosophical Account of Humor and Comedy (Routledge 2018), Steven Gimbel presents a philosophical account of humor.  He develops a view according to which an act is humorous if and only if it is a conspicuous, intentional act of playful cleverness.  This account of humor then enables Gimbel to address a full palate of questions concerning jokes and comedy.