A1 Journal article (refereed)
Understanding Humor : Four Conceptual Approaches to the Elusive Subject (2023)

Hietalahti, J., & Pennanen, J. (2023). Understanding Humor : Four Conceptual Approaches to the Elusive Subject. The Philosophy of Humor Yearbook, 4(1), 53-80. https://doi.org/10.1515/phhumyb-2023-0003

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsHietalahti, Jarno; Pennanen, Joonas

Journal or seriesThe Philosophy of Humor Yearbook



Publication year2023

Publication date18/09/2023


Issue number1

Pages range53-80

PublisherDe Gruyter

Place of PublicationBerlin

Publication countryGermany

Publication languageEnglish


Publication open accessNot open

Publication channel open access

Publication is parallel published (JYX)https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/91790


This article discusses four ways of understanding the concept of humor: 1) in terms of necessary and sufficient conditions, as 2) a cluster concept, 3) an interpretive concept, and 4) a dual character concept. We peruse both historical and contemporary research on humor, but instead of asking “What is humor?,” we draw conclusions regarding what humor research tells us of the ways to conceptualize humor. The main merits and shortcomings of different approaches are explicated. We suggest that the increased awareness of conceptual options will help the field of humor research to construct ever better theories on the elusive subject matter.

Keywordshumourconcepts (notions)concept analysisinterpretation (cognition)philosophy

Free keywordsphilosophy of humor; necessary and sufficient conditions; cluster concept; interpretive concept; dual character concept

Fields of science:

Contributing organizations

Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2023

JUFO rating1

Last updated on 2024-15-05 at 13:22