Ideas should be taken seriously. But the philosophers Nietzsche, Derrida and Umberto Eco in his novel The Name of the Rose, argued comedy and laughter are central to the deepest thought. Should we be wary of taking ideas too seriously on the grounds that it risks making them static, monolithic, and lifelessly logical? Should ideas instead be playful and light of foot? Or do they need to be serious to have impact and lasting value?
Philosopher and author of Irrationality Justin Smith, Director of the Institute of Philosophy Barry C. Smith and author of Inglorious Joanna Kavenna unravel the relationship between humour and serious ideas.