This book analyzes Western and Chinese philosophical texts to determine why laughter and the comic have not been a major part of philosophical discourse. Katrin Froese maintains that many philosophical accounts of laughter try to unearth laughter's purpose, thereby rendering it secondary to the intentional and purposive aspects of human nature that impel us to philosophize. Froese also considers texts that take laughter and the comic as starting points, attempting to philosophize out of laughter rather than merely trying to unearth reasons for laughter. The book proposes that continuously unraveling philosophical assumptions through the comic and laughter may be necessary to live well.
Katrin Froese is Professor of Philosophy and Religion at the University of Calgary, Canada. She is the author of three previous books: Rousseau and Nietzsche: Toward an Aesthetic Morality (2001), Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Daoist Thought: Crossing Paths In-Between (2006), and Ethics Unbound: Some Chinese and Western Perspectives on Morality (2013).
Chapter One: We Have a Body?!: Kant, Schopenhauer and Bergson
Chapter Two: Redeeming Laughter in Nietzsche
Chapter Three: Humour and Finitude in Kierkegaard
Chapter Four: A Comic Confucius?
Chapter Five: Humour as the Playful Sidekick to Language in the Zhuangzi
Chapter Six: Laughing for Nothing in Chan Buddhism