A Critique of Humoristic Absurdism. Problematizing the legitimacy of a humoristic disposition toward the Absurd

Utrecht: Utrecht University (2020)
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Abstract
To what extent can humorism be a legitimate disposition toward the Absurd? The Absurd is born from the insurmountable contradiction between one’s ceaseless striving and the absence of an ultimate resolution – or, as I prefer to call it, the ‘dissolution of resolution’. Humoristic Absurdism is the commitment to a pattern of humorous responses to the Absurd, which regard this absurd condition, as well as its manifestation in absurd situations, as a comical phenomenon. Although the humoristic disposition seems promising, by virtue of humor’s recognition of incongruity and its denial of an ultimate resolution, and succeeds in countering three major objections, it falls prey to the claim that comprehensive humorism portrays as frivolous what is earnest, thereby renouncing the gravity of the desire for ultimate resolution, which is fundamental to the notion of the Absurd. In an attempt to explore alternative roles for humor in a legitimate disposition toward the Absurd, Metamodern Absurdism is suggested, which revolves around a post-ironic oscillation between humor and earnestness. In short, only in a role limited to one pole of an oscillatory pattern of responses can humor be integrated in a legitimate disposition toward the Absurd.
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Archival date: 2020-12-04
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2020-12-04

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