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Word Count: 888
In book Four Chapter Eight of the Ethics Aristotle applies his philosophical ideals to the concept of humor and good company He establishes categories and kinds of humor or wit and sets limits for the behavior that a gentleman and a wise man will accept At one point however he makes the admission that its hard to define when ridicule is appropriate Because people react to ridicule in different ways according to their temperament This paper will examine the second paragraph of Book Four Chapter Eight to determine what it is about ridicule that causes Aristotle to break away from his usual method of analysis to consider other ways of looking at the problem Specifically the question of why Aristotle says that propriety in ridicule eludes definition will be considered The problem is that Aristotle defines ridicule in a later part of the same paragraph in a way that seems not to admit any acceptable forms When looking at good and bad company Aristotle considers it entirely in terms of entertaining conversation such as humor wit or ridicule He argues that adaptability in the way we talk to people is desirable since there is a time and a place for everything The paragraph begins with indirect definitions of two extremes of humor the buffoon and the humorless person A buffoon would rather be a fool and hurt peoples feelings than fail to raise a laugh A man who never cracks a joke is also falling short of the appropriate behavior which is the gentlemans ability to give and take gentle humor in a conversation A wit is someone whose pleasantries do not go too far and is always ready with a witty remark or a pleasant joke as to the middle state in dealing with the humorous particularly characteristic of that is social tact or address which may be defined as the gift of saying just the right things for a gentleman to say and
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