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19 - Wit

from PART II - TYPES OF VIRTUES

Raja Halwani
Affiliation:
School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Elliot Layda
Affiliation:
Art Institute of Chicago
Stan van Hooft
Affiliation:
Deakin University, Australia
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Summary

Not much has been written on wit as a virtue. This is surprising given the revival of virtue ethics and Aristotle's giving it as much discussion space as some other virtues. What has been written denies that it is a virtue (often without much argumentation) or that it is an important one.1 Our aim is to offer arguments for and against the claim that wit is a virtue, thus paving the way for a more sustained discussion. Tough we are more convinced by the arguments that wit is not a virtue than by those that it is, we conclude by explaining which of Aristotle's insights regarding wit might be preserved.

THE FIRST CASE FOR WIT'S BEING A VIRTUE: A DESCRIPTION OF ITS STRUCTURE

Our first argument that wit is a virtue relies on a description of its structure, including how wit differs from continent, incontinent and vicious forms of humour. Its structural resemblance to other virtues makes it a good candidate for being a virtue.

Wit has an essential connection to the humorous, which admits of a large variety: telling and listening to jokes, practical jokes, mimicry, punning and slapstick. However, wit is not mere joke-telling. One doesn't need to be witty to tell jokes, even to deliver them properly. Wit often involves saying or doing something funny that is fitting for the occasion, say, at a party, at a meeting or in a piece of writing.

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Publisher: Acumen Publishing
Print publication year: 2013

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  • Wit
  • Edited by Stan van Hooft, Deakin University, Australia
  • Book: The Handbook of Virtue Ethics
  • Online publication: 05 April 2014
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  • Wit
  • Edited by Stan van Hooft, Deakin University, Australia
  • Book: The Handbook of Virtue Ethics
  • Online publication: 05 April 2014
Available formats
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Send book to Google Drive

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  • Wit
  • Edited by Stan van Hooft, Deakin University, Australia
  • Book: The Handbook of Virtue Ethics
  • Online publication: 05 April 2014
Available formats
×