ABOUT DANIEL ABRAHAMS
Philosophy Guy From Toronto
I follow an interest in how mass art mediates our relationship with each other and the world at large. Right now that is centred around satire and commemoration. This leads me into the philosophical areas of aesthetics, humour, social epistemology, language, and ethics.
THE IMPORTANCE OF HISTORY TO THE ERASING HISTORY DEFENCE
Journal of Applied Philosophy
A paper about commemorative monuments (and other honourifics) and the "erasing history" defence. I put together a charitable way of understanding the claim that removing monuments to ethically bad historical figures constitutes erasing history, and show how to respond while taking seriously the importance of the historical past. I use the context of John A Macdonald because I am hopelessly Canadian.
WINNING OVER THE AUDIENCE: HUMOUR AND TRUST
Forthcoming in the Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism
I examine the role of trust in stand-up comedy. I look at how stand-ups have to build the trust of the audience to get the audience to accept their jokes. This makes particularly good sense of ethically dubious humour, where the comedian has to convince the audience that it is permissible for the audience to participate.
WINNING OVER THE AUDIENCE
About the importance of trust in both humour and stand-up comedy. I argue that humour depends, in part, on establishing a relationship between the humourist and the audience. The humourist must earn the trust of the audience for both that she is joking, and what she is joking about.
Aretai Annual Conference 4: Virtues, Media and Democracy
September 27, 2019, Genoa
THE POLITICS SATIRE MAKES
What should we expect from satire in terms of changing people's political beliefs? I expand from previous focus on mass media mock news to include a section on social media. I conclude that we shouldn't expect much in terms of changing beliefs, but that might just be because beliefs are the wrong place to be looking for effects.
Annual Meeting of the American Society for Aesthetics
October 11, 2018, Toronto
THE SOCIAL ACCOUNT OF HUMOUR
I offer a way of understanding humour as a social act. A look at the historical diversity of humour practice suggests that a social account is morely likely to be true than current pyschological ones.
PREACHING TO THE CONVERTED: SATIRE IN POLITICAL CONTEXT
I argue that mass media political satire should not be expected to change the minds of its targets. This is because the dynamics of mass media lead to mass media shows being delivered almost exclusively to people who already accept a show's ideological thrust. The targets of the satiric attack have little reason to care about the satirist's criticism.
THE EMOTIONS OF HUMOUR: EMBARRASSMENT AS A PARADIGMATIC EMOTION OF HUMOUR
If humour is looked at as a social phenomenon, then it can be evaluated from the perspective of either the joker or the target. I argue that when approached from the perspective of the target, embarrassment and shame may be thought of as paradigmatic emotions of humour. If so, then potential humour acts may be evaluated as funny or not funny based on whether the target should feel embarrassed or ashamed.
INTENTIONAL MISREPRESENTATION IN DEPICTION
I use depiction as a base to give an account of intentional misrepresentation, and how to distinguish between the misrepresentative features of a picture from its merely representative-within-a-style features.