Amusement and the Philosophy of Emotion: A Neuroanatomical Approach

Joseph T. Palencika1

a1 State University of New York, Buffalo


Philosophers who discuss the emotions have usually treated amusement as a non-emotional mental state. Two prominent philosophers making this claim are Henri Bergson and John Morreall, who maintain that amusement is too abstract and intellectual to qualify as an emotion. Here, the merit of this claim is assessed. Through recent work in neuroanatomy there is reason to doubt the legitimacy of dichotomies that separate emotion and the intellect. Findings suggest that the neuroanatomical structure of amusement is similar to other commonly recognized emotion states. On the basis of these it is argued that amusement should be considered an emotion.