Dr. Paul Butterfield, Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Alfred University, focuses his research on ethics and speech, and, in particular, when humorous speech can count as an example of bigotry. Sometimes you might tell a joke, and members of your audience find it offensive. At other times, you might object to someone else’s joke, even though they themselves see nothing wrong with it. How are we to adjudicate these disagreements? Under what circumstances is “I’m only joking” a legitimate moral excuse? In this presentation, he explore the factors at play in determining what we should, and should not, be permitted to say in jest. His latest publication on humor ethics is forthcoming in The Oxford Handbook of Ethics and Aesthetics, and his website is www.paulbutterfield.co.
Previously, Dr. Butterfield taught at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Baruch College and the University of Glasgow. He received his Ph.D. in Philosophy at The Graduate Center, CUNY and his Butterfield received undergraduate and graduate degrees in Philosophy from the University of Glasgow. While at the Graduate Center, he was the recipient of a Fellowship for Racial and Social Justice in 2021, bestowed by the Institute for Education in Retirement (IER) to commemorate the new relationship between IRP/ LP2 and the CUNY Graduate Center.