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Unfelt Pain

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Reuter Kevin,
Project The Conceptual Space of the Affective Mind
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Synthese
Volume (Issue) 197(4)
Page(s) 1777
Title of proceedings Synthese

Open Access

Type of Open Access Green OA Embargo (Freely available via Repository after an embargo)


The standard view in philosophy treats pains as phenomenally conscious mental states. This view has a number of corollaries, including that it is generally taken to rule out the existence of unfelt pains. The primary argument in support of the standard view is that it supposedly corresponds with the commonsense conception of pain. In this paper, we challenge this doctrine about the commonsense conception of pain, and with it the support offered for the standard view, by presenting the results of a series of new empirical studies that indicate that lay people not only tend to believe that unfelt pains are possible, but actually, quite common.