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Where is your pain? A cross-cultural comparison of the concept of pain in Americans and South Koreans


Kim, Hyo-eun; Poth, Nina; Reuter, Kevin; Sytsma, Justin (2017). Where is your pain? A cross-cultural comparison of the concept of pain in Americans and South Koreans. Studia Philosophica Estonica, 9(1):136-169.

Abstract

Philosophical orthodoxy holds that pains are mental states, taking this to reflect the ordinary conception of pain. Despite this, evidence is mounting that English speakers do not tend to conceptualize pains in this way; rather, they tend to treat pains as being bodily states. We hypothesize that this is driven by two primary factors -- the phenomenology of feeling pains and the surface grammar of pain reports. There is reason to expect that neither of these factors is culturally specific, however, and thus reason to expect that the empirical findings for English speakers will generalize to other cultures and other languages. In this article we begin to test this hypothesis, reporting the results of two cross-cultural studies comparing judgments about the location of referred pains (cases where the felt location of the pain diverges from the bodily damage) between two groups -- Americans and South Koreans -- that we might otherwise expect to differ in how they understand pains. In line with our predictions, we find that both groups tend to conceive of pains as bodily states.

Abstract

Philosophical orthodoxy holds that pains are mental states, taking this to reflect the ordinary conception of pain. Despite this, evidence is mounting that English speakers do not tend to conceptualize pains in this way; rather, they tend to treat pains as being bodily states. We hypothesize that this is driven by two primary factors -- the phenomenology of feeling pains and the surface grammar of pain reports. There is reason to expect that neither of these factors is culturally specific, however, and thus reason to expect that the empirical findings for English speakers will generalize to other cultures and other languages. In this article we begin to test this hypothesis, reporting the results of two cross-cultural studies comparing judgments about the location of referred pains (cases where the felt location of the pain diverges from the bodily damage) between two groups -- Americans and South Koreans -- that we might otherwise expect to differ in how they understand pains. In line with our predictions, we find that both groups tend to conceive of pains as bodily states.

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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
Language:German
Date:15 February 2017
Deposited On:23 Oct 2019 13:28
Last Modified:23 Oct 2019 13:29
Publisher:University of Tartu
ISSN:1406-0000
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.12697/spe.2016.9.1.06

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