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Is it Intelligible that an Organism with no Pain-Behaviour should be in Pain?

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Can we make sense of the idea that an organism without pain-behaviour might feel pain? I focus on two approaches to this question, one developed following Wittgenstein's discussion of sensations in the Private Language Arguments, the other grounded in the functionalist arguments of David Lewis. Both approaches acknowledge the centrality of pain-behaviour to the concept of pain, but support different responses to the title question. Lewis contends that pain-behaviour, though integral to the concept of pain, is not essentially connected to pain itself, and implies that neurological facts about an organism alone could ground an attribution of pain. I will argue that Lewis misconstrues the structure of the concept of pain. FollowingWittgenstein, I argue that the concept of pain cannot be disassociated from pain itself and, correlatively, that pain-behaviour is logically definitive of pain. It follows that the title question must be answered in the negative.

Document Type: Research Article

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Publication date: 2011-01-01

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