Thomas Hobbes, Comedian
Cover of Volume 44 (1)
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How to Cite

Thomas Hobbes, Comedian. (2020). The Political Science Reviewer, 44(1), 147-174.


Hobbes uses humor deliberately throughout Leviathan. He also says laughter reveals one’s opinion of their superiority in comparison to others, representing a sign of contempt and manifestation of hatred. The use of humor is therefore problematic in a political teaching, such as Hobbes’s, dedicated to combating hate and educating human beings to treat each other as equals. Hobbes deploys humor to criticize elites who do not deserve their reputation or station as well as to portray most people as readily misled. He criticizes humor in order to protect vulnerable people from the harm it does them, while using it to educate or flatter people who might be friendly to his efforts to rescue people from abuse. The eventual consequence is a humorless form of politics suited to the view that it is reasonable in this world to anticipate the manufacture of comical outcomes.

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