Could having a sense of humor be a virtue? In this paper, we argue for an affirmative answer to this question. Like other virtues, a sense of humor elicits and directs the expression of various emotions, especially amusement, contempt, trust, and hope. Someone possesses a virtuous sense of humor to the extent that they are well-disposed to express, elicit, and direct these emotions in themselves and others through both embodied reactions (e.g., smiling, laughter, eyerolls) and language (e.g., telling jokes, understanding others’ jokes, etc.). Regarding the aims or purposes of a sense of humor, we argue that a sense of humor aids both its bearer and other people who are socially connected to the bearer with coping, connection, capability, and criticism. If this is on the right track, then the correct account of the value of a sense of humor is pluralistic: a sense of humor doesn’t do just one thing, but several things simultaneously. Using this hypothesis, we explore four contexts in which a sense of humor is especially needed, namely hardship, social relationships, social and political cooperation, and existential reflection.
Contact Suzanne Whitten (firstname.lastname@example.org) for link.
|Name||Dr Suzanne Whitten|