Pain, the body, and awareness

Corns, J. (2022) Pain, the body, and awareness. In: Alsmith, A. J.T. and Longo, M. R. (eds.) The Routledge Handbook of Bodily Awareness. Routledge, pp. 355-365. ISBN 9780367337315 (doi: 10.4324/9780429321542-31)

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In reaching for a specialised theory of pain, we may initially assume that pain is a distinctive way of being aware of our bodies. More formally, we may think that pain is (a) a conscious mental episode, with (b) a distinctive quality, concerning (c) a distinctive bodily occurrence, e.g. bodily disturbance or bodily damage. In this chapter, I briefly consider each component of this assumption. First, whether pains are necessarily conscious. Second, whether pains have a distinctive quality. Third, whether pains necessarily concern some distinctive bodily occurrence or, indeed, any bodily occurrence whatsoever. Using empirical evidence and everyday pain reports, I argue that all three components of the initial assumption are false. Instead, pains are a surprisingly complex and diverse range of episodes. This alternative is an everyday picture of pain that respects its complexity with potentially significant implications for our understanding of pain in philosophy, science, and medicine.

Item Type:Book Sections
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Corns, Dr Jennifer
Authors: Corns, J.
College/School:College of Arts & Humanities > School of Humanities > Philosophy

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