Abstract One topic frequently explored in the philosophy of humor is the relationship of comedy and laughter with other facets of human existence—including theological insight and religious experience. The aim of this essay is to employ the mature thought of John Dewey not only to illuminate the nature of humor, but also to discern the deep source and connection between the spiritually exalting and the funny from a naturalistic perspective. While a number of passages on comedy and humor from Dewey’s later work are addressed, mostly from Art as Experience, they are synthesized with other ideas from this same text along with a few quotes from John Morreall. The focus is then shifted toward the central themes of A Common Faith, Dewey’s proposal for a de-supernaturalized form of the religious life. It is suggested that the humorous and the religious, understood through Dewey’s refined account of experience, disclose a few very important things about our place within the cosmos as a whole—that greatest of contexts in and through which laughter and the spiritual alike acquire their significance. This Deweyan vision is further clarified by way of comparison with Peter Berger’s theological reflections on humor. The controversies over sin and the place of tragedy in Dewey’s religious naturalism are briefly discussed in the conclusion.

Full Text
Published version (Free)

Talk to us

Join us for a 30 min session where you can share your feedback and ask us any queries you have

Schedule a call