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The developmental challenge to the paradox of pain


Reuter, Kevin (2017). The developmental challenge to the paradox of pain. Erkenntnis, 82(2):265-283.

Abstract

People seem to perceive and locate pains in bodily locations, but also seem to conceive of pains as mental states that can be introspected. However, pains cannot be both bodily and mental, at least according to most conceptions of these two categories: mental states are not the kind of entities that inhabit body parts. How are we to resolve this paradox of pain (Aydede in Pain: new papers on its nature and the methodology of its study. MIT Press, Cambridge, 2006a; Hill in Pain: new papers on its nature and the methodology of its study. MIT Press, Cambridge, 2006)? In this paper, I put forward what I call the ‘Developmental Challenge’, tackling the second pillar of this paradox, i.e. the introspectionist (or mental-state) view of pain according to which (A) genuine pain reports are introspective reports. This view forms an inconsistent triad with two other widely held positions: (B) young children make genuine pain reports, and (C) young children do not make introspective reports. After introducing the paradox and the introspectionist view of pain in part 1, I present the developmental challenge, and defend both (B) and (C). I conclude that the inconsistent triad can only be resolved by reconsidering the introspectionist view of pain. In discussing three potential factors that lead to the puzzling intricacies of our concept of pain, I argue that the concept of pain might not be paradoxical after all.

Abstract

People seem to perceive and locate pains in bodily locations, but also seem to conceive of pains as mental states that can be introspected. However, pains cannot be both bodily and mental, at least according to most conceptions of these two categories: mental states are not the kind of entities that inhabit body parts. How are we to resolve this paradox of pain (Aydede in Pain: new papers on its nature and the methodology of its study. MIT Press, Cambridge, 2006a; Hill in Pain: new papers on its nature and the methodology of its study. MIT Press, Cambridge, 2006)? In this paper, I put forward what I call the ‘Developmental Challenge’, tackling the second pillar of this paradox, i.e. the introspectionist (or mental-state) view of pain according to which (A) genuine pain reports are introspective reports. This view forms an inconsistent triad with two other widely held positions: (B) young children make genuine pain reports, and (C) young children do not make introspective reports. After introducing the paradox and the introspectionist view of pain in part 1, I present the developmental challenge, and defend both (B) and (C). I conclude that the inconsistent triad can only be resolved by reconsidering the introspectionist view of pain. In discussing three potential factors that lead to the puzzling intricacies of our concept of pain, I argue that the concept of pain might not be paradoxical after all.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Philosophy
Dewey Decimal Classification:100 Philosophy
Uncontrolled Keywords:Philosophy, Logic
Language:English
Date:1 April 2017
Deposited On:23 Oct 2019 13:53
Last Modified:23 Oct 2019 13:54
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0165-0106
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s10670-016-9816-8

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