Ron Aharoni’s page on humor


Papers on humor
Here are some of my papers, attempting to answer the question “what is humor?”

I have just retired from my position as a professor at the department of mathematics in the Technion. Time to look back.

Throughout my career, I took long-term digressions into the humanities. A non-philosophical book about philosophy, trying to characterize the structure of discourse that induces the feeling of philosophicality – a separate page will be devoted to it; the evolutionary origin of facial expressions; mathematical education; trying to answer the question of what makes a text a poem (I wrote a book on that – “Man detaches meaning”), and the subject of this page – humor. I would say that at least a third of my efforts were devoted to the humanities. Much more if the time added to thinking about life (my life, that is) is added.

So, I think my experience entitles me to testify about the differences between science and the humanities. The main thing to be realized is that these are totally different disciplines. No connection. There is a huge gap between the modes of thinking in the two. And the comparison is heavily in favour of the sciences.

The bottom line is: I enjoyed thinking about the humanities, but I learned how to think in the sciences. My encounters with the way people in the humanities think were painful. Especially in philosophy and humor research. In both fields observation is secondary to fancy terminology. And intellectual dishonesty prevails. I will try to show it in humor research.

The clap of one hand


Self reference in humor

Two neglected theories of humor

eye of the beholder

A draft of a book – “How do jokes work”