Jokes, aporia and undecidability

Alexander Segal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
297 Downloads (Pure)


Derrida saw laughter as a version of aporia; and he linked aporia to an undecidability that he ties to fiction. I argue that such undecidability contributes to some jokes. Sometimes this undecidability enables the joke to combine plausibility and delightfulness. More interesting and more aporetic is the way that undecidability contributes to jokes that foreground their textual status (some meta-jokes for instance) and those that have an effect of unfathomability.
The jokes considered include one on which Derrida commented and another which was told at his Columbia University memorial service.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Humour Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 2018

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