Gorica Orsholits (Bio)

Elucidating humour in Kierkegaard’s philosophy

In antiquity, the word humour referred to the balance between the physiological, psychological and pathological characteristics of a person. It was only in recent times that humour became associated with the comic effects of artistic creations. Søren Kierkegaard recognised humour as one of the highest stages of life, among the aesthetic, the ethical and the religious. In Kierkegaard’s philosophy, humour aids in maintaining a true personality. The being of being requires constant striving to remain in communion, to attain synthesis, and balance a multitude of different humours, opposing aspirations that exist within the personal self. Kierkegaard reads the story of Shakespeare’s Hamlet as a mirror of his own experience, of his own dilemmas in life. In Shakespeare’s tragicomedy of Hamlet, the essence of humour is poetical and psychological, and represents the distinction between that which is expected and that which occurs in reality. This understanding of humour overlaps the role Kierkegaard ascribes to humour in his existential philosophy. Hegel’s