Philosophical disagreements on possible reason(s) ‘Why Flatulence is Funny’ – Professor Sellmaier v. Professor SpiegelThursday, January 17th, 2019
In 2013, Professor James Spiegel of the Philosophy Department at Taylor University in Upland, Indiana, US, took a stab at explaining the phenomenon in issue 35 of the journal ‘Think’ (a journal of The Royal Institute of Philosophy, UK)
“[…] flatulence is a phenomenon that prompts a sudden sense of superiority, is incongruous with many aspects of human social life, and creates a constant exertion of mental energy from which we all need relief from time to time.”
See: ‘WHY FLATULENCE IS FUNNY’
4 years later, however, in the same journal, Prof. Dr. Stephan Sellmaier of the Graduate School of Systemic Neurosciences at Ludwig Maximilian-Universität, München., Germany, gave a blow by blow account of no less than five ‘problematic issues’ with Prof. Spiegel’s essay,
• (1) His claim that laughter always results from a pleasant psychological shift is false.
• (2) His argumentative move from what makes paradigm cases funny to what makes flatulence funny is unwarranted.
• (3) His notion of a psychological shift is not specific enough and lacks explanatory power.
• (4) The claim that funniness of flatulence involves superiority is doubtful.
• (5) His talk about ‘nervous energy’ is questionable and has implausible implications
See: CUT TO THE CHEESE – REPLY TO SPIEGEL’S ‘WHY FLATULENCE IS FUNNY’
The illustration is a detail from the He-Gassen scroll (c. 1603–1868)
[ Research research by Martin Gardiner ]