Senses of Humor as Political Virtues

Metaphilosophy 49 (3):371-387 (2018)
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This article discusses whether a sense of humor is a political virtue. It argues that a sense of humor is conducive to the central political virtues. We must first, however, delineate different types of humor (benevolent or malicious) and the different political virtues (sociability, prudence, and justice) to which they correspond. Generally speaking, a sense of humor is politically virtuous when it encourages good will toward fellow citizens, an awareness of the limits of power, and a tendency not to take oneself too seriously or when it condemns moral or intellectual vice. An analysis of President Donald Trumps deeply flawed sense of humor is used to ground this account.

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Phillip Deen
University of New Hampshire, Manchester


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