Suffering as experiential – a response to Jennifer Corns

Brady, M. S. (2022) Suffering as experiential – a response to Jennifer Corns. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, (doi: 10.1111/phpr.12863) (Early Online Publication)

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In Suffering and Virtue1 , I examine and defend the idea that suffering plays vital roles in a good life, contrary to the prevailing wisdom that suffering is (always or typically) detrimental to happiness and well-being. In the book, whilst careful to acknowledge the obvious fact that suffering is in many cases deleterious to happiness, I propose that it can, nevertheless, have both intrinsic and instrumental value. I argue that forms of suffering can themselves constitute virtuous motives; that suffering is essential to the cultivation and development of virtues of strength and vulnerability; and that suffering is vital to the flourishing of social groups. Early on in the book I state, without much in the way of reason or argument, that suffering is most naturally used to refer to a negative experiential state. I then develop and defend an account of suffering, according to which suffering is negative affect that we mind, where minding is cashed out in terms of an occurrent desire that the negative affect not be occurring. In ‘Suffering as Significantly Disrupted Agency’, Jennifer Corns challenges my assumption that suffering is best understood as experiential, raises a number of objections to my account of suffering as an experiential phenomenon, and proceeds to develop her own non-experiential view. It will come as no surprise that I want to push back against her criticisms of my account, and have objections of my own to her non-experiential view. But in so doing, I hope to make a much stronger case for thinking of suffering as experiential than I did in Suffering and Virtue.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Early Online Publication
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Brady, Professor Michael
Authors: Brady, M. S.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Humanities > Philosophy
Journal Name:Philosophy and Phenomenological Research
ISSN (Online):1933-1592
Published Online:05 December 2022
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2022 The Author
First Published:First published in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 2022
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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