CFP: Philosophy of Humour: New Perspectives

Submission deadline: November 10, 2020

Conference date(s):
February 11, 2021 - February 12, 2021

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This event is online

Conference Venue:

Department of Philosophy, Vytautas Magnus University
Kaunas, Lithuania

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This is a Call for Applications for a two-day international conference, ‘Philosophy of Humour: New Perspectives’, to be held at the Department of Philosophy, Vytautas Magnus University, in Kaunas, Lithuania, the 11th-12th February 2021. The aim was to have the conference fully in person. However, given the ongoing pandemic, it is increasingly likely the conference will move at least partially online. 

Humour has traditionally been of marginal interest throughout the history of philosophy. Although a good number of authors (including Aristotle, Descartes, Hobbes, Kant, Schopenhauer, Bergson and Freud) have commented on what makes us laugh and why, it has never received the attention of other topics. This changed somewhat in the 1980s, particularly through the work of John Morreall, who not only collated the various accounts of humour and laughter throughout the history of ideas, but also explicated the three main theories – the Superiority Theory, the Incongruity Theory, and the Relief Theory – as well as providing his own take.

This conference aims to advance on existing research and theories by looking at the issue afresh. This is because, as comedians like Dave Chappelle, Hannah Gadsby, Ali Wong and others show, humour is constantly evolving, as well as the fact that what makes us laugh varies enormously depending on the personal and social situation, as well as the culture – and yet humour is a universal human trait that is central to our lives and existence, all the way from bringing people together, to the other extreme of stigmatizing, marginalizing and abusing certain groups. Much more work, research and new ideas are thus needed if we are to further understand this crucial and incredibly intricate subdomain in philosophical anthropology.

We welcome papers in philosophy and related disciplines (anthropology, psychology, sociology) that engage with traditional theories of humour, as well as new accounts that present innovative theories or insights, or that deal with particular or previously unexplored issues.

To be considered please submit a 300-500 word abstract and a copy of your recent CV to [email protected] by the 10th November 2020. Please also indicate your preference to attend in person or virtually.

Each presenter will receive 30-40 minutes to present their paper, with additional time for questions and discussion. We also plan to pursue a publication (an edited volume or a special journal issue) based on the conference.

Thank you and we look forward to hearing from you,

Dr Viktoras Bachmetjevas (Vytautas Magnus University, Lithuania).

Dr Daniel O’Shiel (; Diego Portales University, Chile).

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