Why Do We Laugh or Cry

Powerful Essays
WHY DO WE LAUGH OR CRY?
(For Discussion Only, Not For Publication and Not for Quotation)
To be read before the UP Labyrinth on January 19, 2005, during the Philosophy Week

As Heidegger expressed it, and sometimes also attributable to Gabriel Marcel, man has been “cast” or “thrown” into the world without his knowledge, will, or consent, and is removed from it again without his will or consent. Between these two events man has to go through much suffering. In order to explain the mysteries of that intervening event, man invents answers, first in the forms of myth and religion, later in that of philosophic systems. Much of the theories about man have been contributed to our collection of theories not only by philosophy but also by science, the religions, and other systems of thought. We have some quite lucid discussion by David Hume in his Treatise of Human Nature, and lately, by Robert Nozick in his Philosophical Mediations and notably, too, Peter Singer’s best seller How Do We Live? Hence, let’s look at a theory of laughter and crying. There is a way by which we can philosophically analyze laughter and crying. In trying to answer the question, “Why do we laugh or cry?” there is no need to inquire into the psychological motives of people’s laughter and tears. The meaning of the question is: How can the psychological phenomena of laughing and crying be interpreted philosophically?” Are these typically human phenomena irrational? Laughter can be interpreted as a value judgment, an instinctive, negative value judgment concerning a mortification (putting down) of a value or values. The judgment is not expressed in words, but in the inarticulate sounds we call laughter. Laughter, however, is not only our reaction towards degradation of values. Sometimes it is also an action provoking a degradation of values, at least, trying to provoke it. When we laugh at a person, or a thing done by a person, although no value degradation can be found in them, we try

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Good Essays

    Why Do We Laugh

    • 662 Words
    • 3 Pages

    Why do we laugh? Where did laughter come from? Is laughter good for our health? These questions come out of my mind whenever I laugh or hear someone laughing. Laughter is to the heart. It raises spirits, eases life’s challenges, refreshes and heals. We may came from different countries, have different cultures and beliefs, but we are all human, and share the universal language of laughter. The magic of laughter is that it is contagious. We don’t need to know or understand what we are laughing about…

    • 662 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Why We Laugh

    • 439 Words
    • 2 Pages

    an important part in the work of some of the greatest writers such as Shakespeare and Oscar Wilde. However, curiously, after thousands of years spent trying to understand humour, there is still a great deal of controversy about what humour is or why something is funny. There are some interesting theories, though, on this matter. For Aristotle, comedy is based on “an imitation of men worse than the average,” of people who are “ridiculous”. Hobbes carried the same idea a bit further. He said,…

    • 439 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    Pat Smith is a writing instructor who composed a piece called “Laugh Baby Laugh, Cry Baby Cry”. The article is about the 2010 BP oil spill and claims that chanting is what big businesses use to control everyday people. To support this claim, Smith writes about the 2008 National Republican Convention, and how the leaders like Sarah Palin and Rudy Guiliani were chanting in support of BP drilling in the Gulf Coast. However, this is her only referable evidence she uses. Any other piece of evidence that…

    • 277 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    is Ms. Feifei. Hello there. F: Hi Rob. R:In today's programme we are discussing films make us cry and why we actually enjoy watching something that makes us burst into tears or another words to cry out loud. We are also looking at the language associated with crying. So crying out loud surely this is something that you have done, Feifei? F: I'm afraid yes so I have done that. R: Is there a particular film is made you cry? F: I think you have to see the film Turner and Hooch. And how…

    • 1100 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    LAUGHTERᄃ This article is from the WebMD Feature Archiveᄃ Why We Laugh WebMD Feature by R. Morgan Griffinᄃ Whether it's the giggling of your child or the enthusiastic hollers of a talk show's studio audience, we hear laughter every day. Nothing could be more common. But just because it's common doesn't make laughter any less strange. Why Do We laugh? The answer may seem obvious: We laugh when we perceive something funny. But the obvious answer is not correct, at least most of the time. "Most laughter…

    • 525 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    Why We Do What We Do

    • 613 Words
    • 3 Pages

    Why We Do What We Do My teaching philosophy is best described by using the following analogy. A building does not stand tall for years on end without a good foundation. Weather its building a house, an apartment, a church, or a skyscraper, the foundation is the most important element for the building to stand tall for years. If a child can start out with the right knowledge to live a physically active lifestyle they have more of a chance to continue to live while being physically active. Pouring…

    • 613 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    McAdams April 15, 2015 Altruism and Why We do What We do There are two types of people in the world, those who play and those who watch. Players find themselves getting involved in whatever they are passionate about. Those who watch find themselves warming the bench, not contributing, and missing out. One important game we play in life is connected to altruism. Someone who plays in the game of altruism participates in service and doing things outside themself. Why do they act so selflessly? If someone…

    • 1110 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    Why Do We Do This?

    • 830 Words
    • 4 Pages

    Name___________________________________ Biology 2401 Quiz Fundamentals of the Nervous System Ch 11 MULTIPLE CHOICE. Choose the one alternative that best completes the statement or answers the question. 1) What is the role of acetylcholinesterase? A) amplify or enhance the effect of ACh B) destroy ACh a brief period after its release by the axon endings C) act as a transmitting agent D) stimulate the production of serotonin 1) 2) The term central nervous system refers to the ________…

    • 830 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Why Do We Age

    • 2039 Words
    • 9 Pages

    How and why do we age? Ageing is 'The process of growing old' [1]. This is known information to almost everyone that as we age, we show more signs of ageing such as wrinkles or age-related diseases. However, the reasons for this is still not fully known and consolidated, which is why many theories about ageing exist and scientists are still currently researching this topic. This essay will cover well known theories and biological phenomena on the topic of ageing with critical evaluation in answering…

    • 2039 Words
    • 9 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    Why Do We Dream?

    • 290 Words
    • 2 Pages

    Why Do We Dream? No one knows the true answer as to why we humans dream. Probably no one ever will truly know but there are many theories concerning this topic. One theory brought about by famed psychologist Sigmund Freud is that dreams are secret wish fulfillments of the dreamer. Another is the information-processing theory. A third theory is called the activation-synthesis theory. All three are valid theories that deserved to be looked at and discussed with a little more detail. Sigmund Freud…

    • 290 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays