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Suffering Pains

Type of publication Not peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Contribution to book (non peer-reviewed)
Author Massin Olivier,
Project The Nature and Value of Efforts
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Contribution to book (non peer-reviewed)

Book Philosophy of Suffering, Metaphysics, Value and Normativity
Editor , Corns Jennifer; , Brady Michael; , Bain David
Publisher Routledge, London
Page(s) 75 - 100
Title of proceedings Philosophy of Suffering, Metaphysics, Value and Normativity

Open Access

Type of Open Access Repository (Green Open Access)


The paper aims at clarifying the distinctions and relations between pain and suffering. Three negative theses are defended: 1. Pain and suffering are not identical. 2. Pain is not a species of suffering, nor is suffering a species of pain, nor are pain and suffering of a common (proximate) genus. 3. Suffering cannot be defined as the perception of a pain’s badness, nor can pain be defined as a suffered bodily sensation. Three positive theses are endorsed: 4. Pain and suffering are categorically distinct: pain is a localised bodily episode, suffering is a non-localised affective attitude. 5. Suffering can be expressed, pains cannot. As a consequence, we can have compassion for the suffering of others, not for their pains. 6. The relation between pain and suffering is akin to the relation between danger and fear, injustice and indignation, wrongdoing and guilt: suffering is the correct reaction to pain. One upshot is that both the influential view that the experience of pain is incorrigible and the influential view that the ordinary conception of pain is paradoxical are false.