Philosophy Lecture to Discuss Ethics of Humor

St. Lawrence University will host guest lecturer Steve Gimbel, professor of philosophy at Gettysburg College, at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, in Carnegie Hall, room 10. The lecture is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be provided along with both philosophical rigor and jokes.

Gimbel's talk, titled "Can't You Take a Joke?: Ethics and Humor," will address the following: When someone gets upset at something we've said, we often reply, "but I was only joking." Joking, in this sense, seems to get us off the hook for the content of what we have said. Jokes are not meant to be taken seriously and that, we plead, keeps them from having moral significance. But some jokes do seem to be hurtful and therefore morally problematic, especially those that play on stereotypes. So, what are our ethical obligations when it comes to jokes? Are there some jokes that should never be told? Are there some jokes that only some people can tell? What is the philosophical basis for such views?

For more information, contact the Department of Philosophy at 315-229-5222.