Lessons for ethics from the science of pain

Corns, J. and Cowan, R. (2020) Lessons for ethics from the science of pain. In: Holtzman, G. S. and Hildt, E. (eds.) Does Neuroscience Have Normative Implications? Series: The international library of ethics, law and technology (22). Springer: Cham, pp. 39-57. ISBN 9783030561338 (doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-56134-5_3)

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Publisher's URL: https://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783030561338


Pain is ubiquitous. It is also surprisingly complex. In this chapter, we first provide a truncated overview of the neuroscience of pain. This overview reveals four surprising empirical discoveries about the nature of pain with relevance for ethics. In particular, we discuss the ways in which these discoveries both inform putative normative ethical principles concerning pain and illuminate metaethical debates concerning a realist, naturalist moral metaphysics, moral epistemology, and moral motivation. Taken as a whole, the chapter supports the surprising conclusion that the sciences have revealed that pain is less significant than one might have thought, while other neurological kinds may be more significance than has hitherto been recognised.

Item Type:Book Sections
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Cowan, Dr Robert and Corns, Dr Jennifer
Authors: Corns, J., and Cowan, R.
Subjects:B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
College/School:College of Arts > School of Humanities > Philosophy
Published Online:01 November 2020

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