Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 3
  • Cited by
    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Green, Richard H. 1981. Central State Materialism and Consciousness. Philosophy, Vol. 56, Issue. 215, p. 106.

    Bannon, Michael J. 1980. Neural Adaptation to Unnecessary Pain. Philosophy, Vol. 55, Issue. 213, p. 408.

    Degenaar, J. J. 1979. Some philosophical considerations on pain. Pain, Vol. 7, Issue. 3, p. 281.


Is Pain Necessary?

  • Roland Puccetti (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 February 2009

Many writers have been struck by what Ronald Melzack, a leading investigator of pain mechanisms, calls the ‘puzzle’ of pain. Thus the surgeon Leriche, often quoted in this connection, says:

Defence reaction? Fortunate warning? But as a matter of fact the majority of illnesses, even the most serious, attack us without warning. Sickness is nearly always a drama in two acts, of which the first takes place, cunningly enough, in the dim silence of bur tissues, with the lights out, before the candles have been lit. When pain makes its appearance, we are almost in the second act…… Pain merely makes more distressing and sad a situation already long lost…… In fact, pain is always a baleful gift, which reduces the subject of it, and makes him more ill than he would be without it (pp. 22–23).

Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

R. A. Sternbach , Pain: A Psychophysiological Analysis (N.Y.: Academic Press, 1968), Ch. VIII.

E. C. O. Jewsbury , ‘Insensitivity to Pain’, Brain, 74, 1951, pp. 336359.

G. A. McMurray , ‘Congenital Insensitivity to Pain and Its Implications for Motivational Theory’, Canadian Journal of Psychology, 9, 1955, pp. 121131, reviews 16 such cases in the literature.

G. A. McMurray , ‘Experimental Study of a Case of Insensitivity to Pain’, Archives of Neurology and Psychiatry, 64, 1950, pp. 650667.

D. W. Baxter and J. Olszewski , ‘Congenital Universal Insensitivity to Pain’, Brain, 83, 1960, pp. 381393.

R. Melzack and P. D. Wall Pain Mechanisms: a New Theory’, Science, 150, 1965, pp. 971979

E. R. Perl , ‘Is Pain a Specific Sensation?’, Journal of Psychiatric Research, 8, 1971, pp. 273287.

P. Feyerabend , ‘Mental Events and the Brain’, Journal of Philosophy, 60, 1963

D. M. Armstrong , ‘Epistemological Foundations for a Materialist Theory of Mind’, Philosophy of Science, 40, 1973, pp. 178193.

N. J. Jerison , Evolution of the Brain and Intelligence (New York and London: Academic Press, 1973), Chapters 1, 12 and 17.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

  • ISSN: 0031-8191
  • EISSN: 1469-817X
  • URL: /core/journals/philosophy
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *