Tales of the unexpected. Incongruity-resolution in humor comprehension, scientific discovery and thought experimentation

Tim De Mey

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12775/LLP.2005.006


Some scholars suspect that thought experiments have something in common with jokes. Moreover, Thomas Kuhn has suggested that what happens to someone who thinks through a thought experiment “is very similar to what happens to a man, like Lavoisier, who must assimilate the result of a new unexpected experimental discovery” (1964: 321). In this paper, I pinpoint the presumed commonalities. I identify, more specifically, what cognitive linguists call “incongruity-resolution” as the problem-solving process not only involved in humor comprehension, but in scientific discovery and thought experimentation as well.

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ISSN: 1425-3305 (print version)

ISSN: 2300-9802 (electronic version)

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