An important, recent, successful, and closely related theory is Raskin's (1985) linguistic-semantic theory of verbal humor. This work has conclusions that are quite close to the present theory. The central idea is that in verbal humor, the text must be compatible with two different semantic scripts which are opposite in one of a number of particular ways: obscenity/no obscenity, violence/no violence, no money/money, death/life, bad/good. Each of these oppositeness relationships obviously has a moral and affective content, and while a list of these may be useful within a taxonomy of moral affects, it seems clear from the outset that they are simply particular instances of the generalization given in the present theory, which subsumes all of these oppositeness relationships in the terms of Normality versus subjective moral Violation. Obscenity, violence, poverty, death and badness are moral violations which we all care about; whereas, the non-violent, the non-obscene, the rich, the living and the good, are all seen as within the social and moral order of the world which we accept as normal and desirable. The present theory makes use of a more abstract generalization and thereby simplifies things considerably. Simplification not only pleads Occam's Razor, but also allows one to think about more complex issues, so that we may attempt to penetrate issues previously mysterious, including many classes of observations beyond verbal humor.
Raskin's theory is strictly limited to jokes, viewed as linguistic forms, or texts. Because of this restriction, it can't deal with differences that aren't in the text itself. It does not deal with humor that makes no use of linguistic means -- sight gags and slapstick, for example. It does not deal with differences in interpretation, such as jokes that fail in some situations but not others -- where, for example, a difference in perceived humor is related to differences in affective evaluations by different subjects, or to differences in the tension in a social situation, etc. Clearly humor is not restricted to jokes; the present theory relaxes this restriction. Since the present theory also generalizes over the classes of oppositeness-relationships that Raskin discusses, it may be seen in both respects as a generalization of Raskin's theory, to which it is otherwise closely related.