One problem with current humor theories is the problem of
measurable and definable quantities. I am not a logical
positivist, but I have yet to see nice, reproducible
measurements and defined quantities, except in a one-off
experiment. Where is the reproducibility that is demanded in
all good science?
Someone designs what they believe to be a nice experiment. Who
reproduces it? For that matter, where are baselines established?
If I can get this paper done (maybe during break?), it
proposes, from first principles, an actual observable
phenomenon that must exist whenever the physiology of humor is
triggered (the physiology of humor does not equal humor, of
course). We should be able to go into a laboratory and look
for it. Finding it or not finding it should say something
about the current neuro-experiments being done to image where
and how humor physiology occurs in the brain. This is an
entirely theoretical model based on how aggregates of neurons
in the prefrontal cortex should respond under conditions
similar to what we think should trigger humor -incongruity,
The theory may be wrong. There is no shame in having a theory
disproven, but at least trying to measure the phenomenon might
uncover another phenomenon that might push us forward.
I would like to see better, more precise definitions of things
such as incongruity, because the more loosely defined they are,
the vaguer the theories.
Today, at school, there was an advertisement for a "laughter
workshop" at 1:00 pm. One of the really media-famous applied
humor persons resides in Columbus and either he or someone else
teaching a class on therapeutic laughter (humor) this quarter
as a mental health elective. I was so tempted to sit in the
class, but I suspect I would have gotten thrown out. That
humor workshop, today, just made me a bit sad that so many
people are teaching so much about something they understand so
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