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Pain, Dislike and Experience

  • GUY KAHANE (a1)

It is widely held that it is only contingent that the sensation of pain is disliked, and that when pain is not disliked, it is not intrinsically bad. This conjunction of claims has often been taken to support a subjectivist view of pain's badness on which pain is bad simply because it is the object of a negative attitude and not because of what it feels like. In this article, I argue that accepting this conjunction of claims does not commit us to this subjectivist view. They are compatible with an objectivist view of pain's badness, and with thinking that this badness is due to its phenomenal quality. Indeed, I argue that once the full range of options is in view, the most plausible account of pain is incompatible with subjectivism about value.

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Irwin Goldstein , ‘Pleasure and Pain: Unconditional, Intrinsic Values’, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 50 (1989), pp. 255–76

Stuart Rachels , ‘Is Unpleasantness Intrinsic to Unpleasant Experiences?’, Philosophical Studies 99 (2000), pp. 187210

Fred Feldman , ‘On the Intrinsic Value of Pleasures’, Ethics 107 (1997), pp. 448–66

David Sobel , ‘Pain For Objectivists: The Case of Matters of Mere Taste’, Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 8 (2005), 437–57

R. M. Hare , ‘Pain and Evil’, Essays on the Moral Concepts (London, 1972)

K. C. Berridge and P. Winkielman , ‘What is an Unconscious Emotion? (The Case for Unconscious “Liking”)’, Cognition and Emotion 17 (2003), pp. 181211)

M. Ploner , H.-J. Freund , and A. Schnitzler , ‘Pain Affect Without Pain Sensation in a Patient with a Postcentral Lesion’, Pain 81 (1999), pp. 211–14

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  • ISSN: 0953-8208
  • EISSN: 1741-6183
  • URL: /core/journals/utilitas
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