The logic of humor has been acknowledged as an essential dimension of every joke. However, what is the logic of jokes, exactly? The modern theories of humor maintain that jokes are characterized by their own logic, dubbed “pseudo,” “playful,” or “local,” which has been the object of frequent criticisms. This article intends to address the limitations of the current perspectives on the logic of jokes by proposing a rhetorical approach to humorous texts. Building on the traditional development of Aristotle’s almost neglected view of jokes as surprising enthymemes, the former are analyzed as rhetorical arguments. Like enthymemes, jokes are characterized by natural inferences that can be represented as topics, and quasi-formalized in argumentation theory as argumentation schemes. Like rhetorical arguments, jokes express a reason in support of different types of conclusions and proceed from distinct kinds of reasoning and semantic relations.

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