New Essays on Its Nature and the Methodology of Its Study
Edited by Murat Aydede

What does feeling a sharp pain in one's hand have in common with seeing a red apple on the table? Some say not much, apart from the fact that they are both conscious experiences. To see an object is to perceive an extramental reality—in this case, a red apple. To feel a pain, by contrast, is to undergo a conscious experience that doesn't necessarily relate the subject to an objective reality. Perceptualists, however, dispute this. They say that both experiences are forms of perception of an objective reality. Feeling a pain in one's hand, according to this view, is perceiving an objective (physical) condition of one's hand. Who is closer to truth?

Because of such metaphysical issues, the subjectivity of pains combined with their clinical urgency raises methodological problems for pain scientists. How can a subjective phenomenon be studied objectively? What is the role of the first-person method (e.g., introspection) in science? Some suggest that the subjectivity of pains (and of conscious experiences in general) is due to their metaphysical irreducibility to purely physical processes in the nervous system. Can this be true?

The study of pain and its puzzles offers opportunities for understanding such larger issues as the place of consciousness in the natural order and the methodology of psychological research. In this book, leading philosophers and scientists offer a wide range of views on how to conceptualize and study pain. The essays include discussions of perceptual and representationalist accounts of pain; the affective-motivational dimension of pain; whether animals feel pain, and how this question can be investigated; how social pain relates to physical pain; whether first-person methods of gathering data can be integrated with standard third-person methods; and other methodological and theoretical issues in the science and philosophy of pain.

Table of Contents

  1. Preface
  2. 1. Introduction: A Critical and Quasi-Historical Essay on Theories of Pain

    Murat Aydede

  3. 2. The Epistemology of Pain

    Fred Dretske

  4. 3. Ow! The Paradox of Pain

    Christopher S. Hill

  5. 4. Another Look at Representationalism about Pain

    Michael Tye

  6. 4. Peer Commentary on Michael Tye
  7. 5. The Main Difficulty with Pain

    Murat Aydede

  8. 6. Bodily Sensations as an Obstacle for Representationism

    Ned Block

  9. 7. Michael Tye on Pain and Representational Content

    Barry Maund

  10. 8. In a State of Pain

    Paul Noordhof

  11. 9. In Defense of Representationalism: Reply to Commentaries

    Michael Tye

  12. 10. Painfulness Is Not a Quale

    Austen Clark

  13. 11. An Indirectly Realistic, Representational Account of Pain(ed) Perception

    Moreland Perkins

  14. 12. Categorizing Pain

    Don Gustafson

  15. 13. The Experimental Use of Introspection in the Scientific Study of Pain and Its Integration with Third-Person Methodologies: The Experiential-Phenomenological Approach

    Donald D. Price and Murat Aydede

  16. 13. Peer Commentary on Donald D. Price and Murat Aydede
  17. 14. Introspections without Introspeculations

    Shaun Gallagher and Morten Overgaard

  18. 15. Sensations and Methodology

    Robert D'Amico

  19. 16. Pain: Making the Private Experience Public

    Robert C. Coghill

  20. 17. The Problem of Pain

    Eddy Nahmias

  21. 18. Introspection and Unrevisability: Reply to Commentaries

    Murat Aydede and Donald D. Price

  22. 19. Closing the Gap on Pain: Mechanism, Theory, and Fit

    Thomas W. Polger and Kenneth J. Sufka

  23. 20. Deciphering Animal Pain

    Colin Allen, Perry N. Fuchs, Adam Shriver, and Hilary D. Wilson

  24. 21. On the Neuro-Evolutionary Nature of Social Pain, Support, and Empathy

    Jaak Panksepp

  25. Extended Bibliography
  26. Contributors
  27. Index