Thompson Rivers University

Robin Tapley

Name: Robin Tapley
Phone: 828-5495

Research Interests

I work in the Philosophy of Humour. I look at question like the ethics of humour. What counts as a morally objectionable joke? Is ethnic and gender humour always wrong? Does laughing at a sexist joke make you sexist? Are you racist for laughing at a racist joke?
I also work on metaphysical questions regarding humour. What is laughter, or rather what does it mean that we laugh at things? What is it about funniness that makes it so enjoyable. What is the function of humour for humans? What is the evolution of humour?
There are some feminist and cultural questions as well. Humour is different for men and women. Men and women comedians approach and deliver humour differently, and that humour is received by audiences differently.
I also work a little in the fields of Philosophy of Sex and Love, particularly in the area of sexual perversion and in the field of Biomedical Ethics, where my interest is in euthanasia.


B.A.: Philosophy, 1987-1991
McGill University
M.A.: Philosophy, 1991-1993
University of New Brunswick
[Thesis Title: A Strategy For Determining The Moral Permissibility of Abortion]
Ph.D.: Philosophy, 1993-1998
McMaster University
[Thesis Title: Moral Responsibility and Physician-Assisted Death]


"The Value of Humour" in Journal of Value Inquiry Vol. 40, no. 4, pp 421-431, 2006
"Just Joking: The Ethics of Humour" in Yeditepe"De Felsefe Vol 4, No 25, 2005, pages171-1982005
"What is Wrong With Being a Pervert" Northwest Philosophy Conference, Portland Oregon, October 2007
"Humour and Play" Western Canadian Philosophical Association, October 2007
"Laugh Softly and Carry a Big Disclaimer" Midsouth Philosophy Conference, February 2006

"Delivering the Goods: The Value of Humour" Northwest Conference on Philosophy, Seattle WA, October 2005
"Death Management: Physician Responsibility in Dealing with Dying Patients" Midsouth Philosophy Conference, Memphis TN, February 2005
"Just Joking: The Ethics of Humour" Western Canada Philosophical Association, 2003 (unfortunately undelivered)

Employment History

I came to the University College of the Cariboo in Jan of 1998 to do one semester.
I stayed to do another year 98-99.
I came on permanently for the 99-00 year and have been happily ensconced every since.

Courses Taught

These are my usual courses, though I do teach other things when the opportunity arises, such as Phil of Humour ( PHIL 491) or a Topic in Ethics (PHIL 492)
PHIL 110 Intro to Philosophy: Problems and Themes
PHIL 111 Introduction to Critical Thinking
PHIL 201 Intro to Ethics
PHIL 215 Foundations in Metaphysics
PHIL 231 Health Care Ethics
PHIL 315 Empiricists
PHIL 321 Feminist Philosophy
PHIL 330 Moral & Political Philosophy
PHIL 439 Philosophy of Sex and Love


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