Unit 1: Unit 3 Paper on the Ethics (Philosophy)

Unit 1: Unit 3 Paper on the Ethics (Philosophy) of Humor


Unit 1: Unit 3 Paper on the Ethics (Philosophy) of Humor

The course is just starting, but it’s not too early to begin planning for your first paper, which is due at the end of Unit 3 on Sunday night by 11:59 p.m. (CST). This paper will help you prepare for the midterm exam, the Unit 6 Paper and the final exam.

In this paper, you will analyze the theories of humor (from Morreall’s book) as seen in a comedic example of your own choosing. You may choose a movie, an episode of a TV series, a stand-up comedian or another type of example. Do not spend more than two paragraphs describing the scene, movie or example! The paper is to be an analysis of the humor, not a review of how much you liked the movie or program, or how popular it is (or the box-office record it may have set, etc.).

Describe, in your own words, your understanding of how the theories in John Morreall’s book, Comic Relief: A Complete Philosophy of Humor are seen in your example. The main theories to consider are: Superiority, Incongruity, Relief and Relaxation. You may also briefly discuss what we will study in Rod Martin’s book, The Psychology of Humor and you may touch on Grice’s Rules of Conversation, but those should not be the focal point of your paper. The main focus should be your analysis of how the theories in John Morreall’s philosophy book are seen in your example.

It’s important to compare, contrast and integrate your writing in this paper. Do not simply itemize each type of theory, as you would a grocery list. Include more than one academic discipline in each paragraph wherever possible and demonstrate that you see how those disciplines, as well as the theories integrate or relate to each other.

Important: Be sure the entire paper is your original work. Do not repeat course material verbatim or put it in quotes; describe your understanding of what we have learned in your own words. If you do not put things in your own words, it can be seen as plagiarism and can become part of your record at Park. Please contact me if you have questions about plagiarism.

Assignment Details:

The paper is to have at least 3 or more full pages of your original writing, not counting a cover or abstract page (if used) or a reference page. The paper should not be fewer than three pages long, and should be double-spaced, in 12-point type (Times Roman is a good font to use), using APA guidelines. Be sure to put your name on the paper and in the document title. Otherwise, I will need to guess who submitted the paper, or draw names out of a hat!

Topic: Follow the guidelines in the second and third paragraphs above.

Due Date:

The paper is to be submitted by 11:59 p.m. (CST) Sunday night of Unit 3.

Grading Criteria

The paper is worth 95 points. Points will be awarded using the following grading rubric:



Paper is at least 3 or more pages long and addresses all elements of the assignment.


Clearly describes all theories of humor in own words (not copied from lecture, book or other sources).


Compares and contrasts theories with each other and how various theories relate to the Ethics (Philosophy) of humor. You may also briefly touch on the Psychology elements we have discussed.


Paper demonstrates critical thinking and the writing is interdisciplinary, integrated and cohesive.


The writing is original, grammatically correct, and follows standard language usages and conventions.


Total points possible


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