Zoe Walker, University of Cambridge, 'Seeing the Funny Side: How Humour Affects Attention'.
Does finding sexist humour funny make you sexist? Some ethicists of humour have thought that the morality of the sense of humour is a function of the morality of one’s beliefs – or in other words, finding sexist humour funny does indeed entail that you have sexist beliefs. Others, however, have denied this, and have thus concluded that the sense of humour cannot in itself be moral or immoral at all – or in other words, finding sexist humour funny is not morally evaluable, since you can find it funny without being a sexist. In this talk, I will propose a middle way between these options. My first step will be to argue that the sense of humour is not a function of one’s beliefs, but rather a matter of taste – a disposition to have certain attitudes and patterns of cognitive and perceptual attention that is habituated by the comedy we engage with. My second step will be to argue that our patterns of cognitive and perceptual attention are morally evaluable, as it is possible to do good or harm via what we notice, and which inferences about it are easily cognitively accessible to us. Therefore, finding sexist humour funny doesn’t entail that you have sexist beliefs, but does entail a somewhat sexist perspective.
Contact Suzanne Whitten (firstname.lastname@example.org) for link.
|Name||Dr Suzanne Whitten|