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Erkenntnis

, Volume 82, Issue 2, pp 265–283 | Cite as

The Developmental Challenge to the Paradox of Pain

  • Kevin Reuter
Original Article

Abstract

People seem to perceive and locate pains in bodily locations, but also seem to conceive of pains as mental states that can be introspected. However, pains cannot be both bodily and mental, at least according to most conceptions of these two categories: mental states are not the kind of entities that inhabit body parts. How are we to resolve this paradox of pain (Aydede in Pain: new papers on its nature and the methodology of its study. MIT Press, Cambridge, 2006a; Hill in Pain: new papers on its nature and the methodology of its study. MIT Press, Cambridge, 2006)? In this paper, I put forward what I call the ‘Developmental Challenge’, tackling the second pillar of this paradox, i.e. the introspectionist (or mental-state) view of pain according to which (A) genuine pain reports are introspective reports. This view forms an inconsistent triad with two other widely held positions: (B) young children make genuine pain reports, and (C) young children do not make introspective reports. After introducing the paradox and the introspectionist view of pain in part 1, I present the developmental challenge, and defend both (B) and (C). I conclude that the inconsistent triad can only be resolved by reconsidering the introspectionist view of pain. In discussing three potential factors that lead to the puzzling intricacies of our concept of pain, I argue that the concept of pain might not be paradoxical after all.

Keywords

Possession Condition Pain Report Recognitional Concept Developmental Challenge Introspective Report 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgments

I would like to thank Luca Barlassina, Erica Cosentino, Anil Gomes, Sarah Patterson, Justin Sytsma, as well as three anonymous reviewers for their invaluable feedback on previous versions of this paper. I am also grateful to David Bain, Jennifer Corns and the audiences at workshops in Bochum, Glasgow, and Zürich for very helpful comments on the content presented in this paper.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The author declares that there is no conflict of interest. This research did not involve human participants or animals.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of PhilosophyUniversity of BernBern 9Switzerland

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