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Hobbesian Theory

Arguably, the most famous English theory of laughter and humor was enunciated by the post-16th-century modern English philosopher Thomas Hobbes (1588–1679). Hobbes's so-called sudden glory or superiority theory of humor represents the first systematic psychological theory of laughter ever advanced—even though Hobbes was a philosopher, not a psychologist. Many writers in the area of laughter and humor endorse the notion that there is no doubt about the claim regarding Hobbes as being the chief and most vigorous exponent of the “sudden glory” or “superiority” theory, as well as little doubt about the extent of Hobbes's influence. This entry discusses Hobbes's theory of humor, how philosophers and psychologists built on Hobbes's ideas, and the limits of Hobbes's theory.

Generally, Hobbes's philosophy proceeds from a mechanistic view ...

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