Peter H. Karlen


Part I of this article advanced a new theory of humor, the Enlightenment Theory, while contrasting it with other main theories, including the Incongruity, Repression/Relief/Release, and Superiority Theories. The Enlightenment Theory does not contradict these other theories but rather subsumes them. As argued, each of the other theories cannot account for all the aspects of humor explained by the Enlightenment Theory. Part II shows how the Enlightenment Theory meets challenging issues in humor theory where other theories falter, including failed humor, motivation for humor, tickling, laughing gas, and sadistic humor. Also mentioned are the Enlightenment Theory's application to literary and musical humor and the relationship of wit to humor.

Included in

Aesthetics Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.