Feeling Pain and Being in Pain, second edition

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MIT Press, Dec 16, 2011 - Psychology - 198 pages
An examination of the two most radical dissociation syndromes of the human pain experience—pain without painfulness and painfulness without pain—and what they reveal about the complex nature of pain and its sensory, cognitive, and behavioral components.

In Feeling Pain and Being in Pain, Nikola Grahek examines two of the most radical dissociation syndromes to be found in human pain experience: pain without painfulness and painfulness without pain. Grahek shows that these two syndromes—the complete dissociation of the sensory dimension of pain from its affective, cognitive, and behavioral components, and its opposite, the dissociation of pain's affective components from its sensory-discriminative components (inconceivable to most of us but documented by ample clinical evidence)—have much to teach us about the true nature and structure of human pain experience.

Grahek explains the crucial distinction between feeling pain and being in pain, defending it on both conceptual and empirical grounds. He argues that the two dissociative syndromes reveal the complexity of the human pain experience: its major components, the role they play in overall pain experience, the way they work together, and the basic neural structures and mechanisms that subserve them.

Feeling Pain and Being in Pain does not offer another philosophical theory of pain that conclusively supports or definitively refutes either subjectivist or objectivist assumptions in the philosophy of mind. Instead, Grahek calls for a less doctrinaire and more balanced approach to the study of mind–brain phenomena.


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Page 156 - An unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage'.
Page 81 - As psychical adjunct to the reactions of that apparatus we find a strong displeasurable effective quality in the sensations they evoke. This may be a means for branding upon memory, of however rudimentary a kind, a feeling from past events that have been perilously critical for the existence of the individuals of the species. In other words, if we admit that damage to such an exposed sentient organ as the skin must in the evolutionary history of animal life have been sufficiently frequent in relation...
Page 27 - ... a similar cause. And although, considering the use to which the clock has been destined by its maker, I may say that it deflects from the order of its nature when it does not indicate the hours correctly; and as, in the same way, considering the machine of the human...
Page 156 - However, there is more to our concept of pain than its causal role, there is its qualitative character, how it feels; and what is left unexplained by the discovery of C-fiber firing is why pain should feel the way it does\ For there seems to be nothing about C-fiber firing which makes it naturally "fit" the phenomenal properties of pain, any more than it would fit some other set of phenomenal properties.
Page 26 - And as a clock composed of wheels and counter-weights no less exactly observes the laws of nature when it is badly made, and does not show the time properly, than when it entirely satisfies the wishes of its maker, and as, if I consider the body of...
Page 20 - The character of the belief in the uniformity of nature can perhaps be seen most clearly in the case in which we fear what we expect. Nothing could induce me to put my hand into a flame - although after all it is only in the past that I have burnt myself (PI, 472).
Page 26 - It would seem a general rule that reflexes arising in species of receptors which considered as sense-organs provoke strongly affective sensation caeteris paribus prevail over reflexes of other species when in competition with them for the use of the "final common path.
Page 77 - ... pain' meant - so that he constantly called different things by that name - but nevertheless used the word in a way fitting in with the usual symptoms and presuppositions of pain" - in short he uses it as we all do. Here I should like to say: a wheel that can be turned though nothing else moves with it, is not part of the mechanism.
Page 27 - God in order to have in itself all the movements usually manifested there, I have reason for thinking that it does not follow the order of nature when, if the throat is dry, drinking does harm to the conservation of health, nevertheless I recognise at the same time that this last mode of explaining nature is very different from the other. For this is...
Page 26 - ... final common path\ Such reflexes override and set aside with peculiar facility reflexes belonging to touch organs, muscular sense-organs, etc. As the sensations evoked by these arcs, eg 'pains', exclude and dominate concurrent sensations, so do the reflexes of these arcs prevail in the competition for possession of the common paths. They seem capable of preeminent intensity of action.

About the author (2011)

The late Nikola Grahek was Professor of Philosophy at the University of Belgrade. From 1994 to 1995, he was Research Assistant to Daniel Dennett at the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University.

Daniel C. Dennett is University Professor Codirector of the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University. He is the author of Brainchildren: Essays on Designing Minds; Sweet Dreams: Philosophical Obstacles to a Science of Consciousness; Elbow Room: The Varieties of Free Will Worth Wanting; Sweet Dreams: Philosophical Obstacles to a Science of Consciousness (all published by the MIT Press), From Bacteria to Bach and Back: The Evolution of Mind, and other books.

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