Advertisement

Humor and Ignorance in the Perspective of Cognitive Niche Curation

Chapter
  • 82 Downloads
Part of the Studies in Applied Philosophy, Epistemology and Rational Ethics book series (SAPERE, volume 56)

Abstract

The Incongruity Theory of humor suggests that humor is triggered by the perception of something incongruous. The recognition of ignorance amounts to recognizing an incongruity between one’s actual knowledge (or lack thereof) and what ought to be known about that particular issue. In many cases, the explicit or implicit recognition of ignorance is cause for humor and laughter. In this paper, I will propose that humor can be understood as a social modality of signaling an instance of ignorance and urging its resolution: referring to the theory of cognitive niche construction, I will claim that humor out of ignorance is a niche curation technique, aimed at improving the quality of the niche by keeping the ignorant in line but without excluding them from participating to common niche-construction activities.

Keywords

Ignorance Applied epistemology Cognitive niche construction Humor 

References

  1. Abe A (2010) Curation in chance discovery. In: 2010 IEEE international conference on data mining workshops. IEEE, pp 793–799Google Scholar
  2. Arfini S (2019) Ignorant cognition: a philosophical investigation of the cognitive features of not-knowing. Springer, ChamCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Aristotle (2018) Rhetoric. Hackett, LondonGoogle Scholar
  4. Bardone E (2011) Seeking chances: from biased rationality to distributed cognition. Springer, Berlin/HeidelbergCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Beattie J (1779) Essay on laughter and ludicrous composition, 3rd edn. Creech & Dilly, LondonGoogle Scholar
  6. Bertolotti T, Magnani L (2017) Theoretical considerations on cognitive niche construction. Synthese 194:4757–4779CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bingham PM (2000) Human evolution and human history: a complete theory. Evol Anthropol 9:248–257CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Clark M (1970) Humour and incongruity. Philosophy 45(171):20–32CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Clark A (2005) Word, niche and super-niche: how language makes minds matter more. Theoria 54:255–268Google Scholar
  10. Gibson JJ (1977) The theory of affordances. In: Shaw RE, Bransford J (eds) Perceiving, acting and knowing. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Hillsdale, JNGoogle Scholar
  11. Gibson JJ (1979) The ecological approach to visual perception. Houghton Mifflin, Boston, MAGoogle Scholar
  12. Iriki A, Taoka M (2012) Triadic (ecological, neural, cognitive) niche construction: a scenario of human brain evolution extrapolating tool use and language from the control of reaching actions. Philos Trans R Soc B 367:10–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Kant I ([1790], (2008)] The critique of judgement. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  14. Lahiti DC, Weinstein BS (2005) The better angels of our nature: group stability and the evolution of moral tension. Evol Hum Behav 2:47–63CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Magnani L (2007) Creating chances through niche construction. The role of affordances. In: Apolloni B (ed) Knowledge-based intelligent information and engineering systems: 11th international conference, KES 2007, Vietri sul Mare, Italy, September 12–14, 2007, Proceedings, Part II, Lecture notes in computer science. Springer, Berlin/HeidelbergGoogle Scholar
  16. Magnani L (2009) Abductive cognition: the epistemological and eco-cognitive dimensions of hypothetical reasoning. Springer, Berlin/HeidelbergCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Magnani L (2011) Understanding violence. Morality, religion, and violence intertwined: a philosophical stance. Springer, Berlin/HeidelbergGoogle Scholar
  18. Nietzsche F (2007) On the genealogy of morality [1887] (Ansell-Pearson K (ed), Diethe C (trans)). Cambridge University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  19. Odling-Smee FJ, Laland KN, Feldman MW (2003) Niche construction. The neglected process in evolution. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJGoogle Scholar
  20. Oshawa Y, McBurney P (eds) (2003) Chance discovery. Springer, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  21. Pinker S (2003) Language as an adaptation to the cognitive niche. In: Christiansen MH, Kirby S (eds) Language evolution. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 16–37CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Rohwer Y (2007) Hierarchy maintenance, coalition formation, and the origin of altruistic punishment. Philos Sci 74:802–812CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Schopenhauer A (1818/1844 [1907]) The world as will and idea (Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung). Routledge and Kegan Paul, LondonGoogle Scholar
  24. Tooby J, DeVore I (1987) The reconstruction of hominid behavioral evolution through strategic modeling. In: Kinzey WG (ed) Primate models of hominid behavior. Suny Press, Albany, pp 183–237Google Scholar
  25. Wallach E (2015) Niche construction theory as an explanatory framework for human phenomena. Sinthese Online First.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11229-015-0868-0CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Humanities, Philosophy SectionUniversity of PaviaPaviaItaly
  2. 2.Mind & Society CenterUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

Personalised recommendations