L’espressione non verbale: il riso e il pianto in Plessner

Vallori Rasini


Like verbal language, laughter and crying are expressive forms belonging  specifically to the human equipment. But their violent and uncontrollable manifestations distance them clearly from verbal expression, which is elegant, multiform, and restrained. Moreover, laughter and crying are opaque: they cannot be connected with a specific mood or a specific cause; and, therefore, they are very different from  sign language or  miming.

The specific features of laughter and crying have their foundations in human nature. Man is the (unique?) living being that is at the same time so near and so distant from his own self.

In his psychophysical neutrality, man “lives through a break”. Laughter and crying are  “to the limit” kinds of conduct and they reveal precisely man’s “eccentric” nature, his connection with his body but also his ability to transcend it.


Human expression, Laughter, Crying, Helmuth Plessner, Philosophical Anthropology

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Rivista Italiana di Filosofia del Linguaggio - - - ISSN 2036-6728


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