Article/Publication Details

The Incongruity of Incongruity Theories of Humor

(Original title: The Incongruity of Incongruity Theories of Humor)
Organon F, 2007, vol. 14, No 3, pp. 320-333.
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The article critically reviews the Incongruity Theory of Humor reaching the conclusion that it has to be essentially restructured. Leaving aside the question of scope, it is shown that the theory is inadequate even for those cases for which it is thought to be especially well suited – that it cannot account either for the pleasurable effect of jokes or for aesthetic pleasure. I argue that it is the resolution of the incongruity rather than its mere apprehension, which is that source of the amusement or aesthetic delight. Once the theory is thus restructured, the Superiority Theory of Humor and the Relief Theory can be seen as supplementary to it.

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