Humour: A Very Short Introduction by Noel Carroll

Have you enjoyed a laugh over Christmas and the New Year? Did you ever wonder why no other animal seems to have a chuckle? By contrast, humour is a universal feature of human life. It has been discovered in every known human culture, and thinkers have discussed it for over two thousand years. Why do we have it? Is it there for therapeutic reasons? Claims have been made that it relieves stress, it promotes goodwill among strangers, it dissipates tension in group settings, it displays intelligence, it improves health and fights sickness.

In this Very Short Introduction from Oxford University Press, Noël Carroll ( considers the nature and value of humour: from its leading theories and its relation to emotion and cognition, to ethical questions of its morality and its significance in shaping society. Enquire at your local library or available at

Listen to the 15 minute ‘philosophybites’ podcast at to hear Professor Noël Carroll on humour.

144 pages in oxford University Press

First published 23 January 2014

ISBN 978-0199552221

Noel Carroll

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