A solution to the problems of pain

Wright, Andrew Robert (2015). A solution to the problems of pain. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.


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In my thesis, I challenge existing philosophical and scientific accounts of pain to explain certain constitutional, functional and empirical problems. Though difficult, some of these problems will be familiar. Unlike perceptual experiences, pains are strikingly affective and when we are in pain we are primarily concerned with the experience itself rather than mind-independent objects. The obvious explanation, that pain is not a perceptual experience, would be appealing if it were not for the fact that pains vary in quality, intensity and location. These seem to be features of paradigmatic perceptual experiences. The magnitude of another problem, the weakness of the correlation between pain and the stimulus, has been under-played. It is widely observed that those with chronic conditions experience pain in the absence of the stimulus and in circumstances like sport and war severe injuries occur in the absence of pain. I argue that the variable relationship between pain and the stimulus is normal; it is not confined to abnormal cases or circumstances. As no existing account proves explanatorily adequate, I develop a novel position called ‘near-motivationalism’ from a revisionary approach to the conceptual models of pain science. This has the power to solve the problems I set.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of Philosophy, Theology and Religion, Department of Philosophy
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/5734


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