The Complex Reality of Pain  book cover
1st Edition

The Complex Reality of Pain

ISBN 9780367353698
Published January 22, 2020 by Routledge
230 Pages 7 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book employs contemporary philosophy, scientific research, and clinical reports to argue that pain, though real, is not an appropriate object of scientific generalisations or an appropriate target for medical intervention. Each pain experience is instead complex and idiosyncratic in a way which undermines scientific utility. In addition to contributing novel arguments and developing a novel position on the nature of pain, the book provides an interdisciplinary overview of dominant models of pain. The author lays the needed groundwork for improved models and targeted treatments at a time when pain science, pain medicine, and philosophy are explicitly searching for both and failing to find them. The Complex Reality of Pain will be of interest to a broad range of researchers and students, including those working in philosophy of mind, philosophy of science, cognitive science, neuroscience, medicine, health, cognitive and behavioural psychology, and pain science.

Table of Contents


1. Introduction: Pain in Life, Science, and Medicine

2. The Need for Complexity: Rejecting the Orthodoxy of Simplicity

3. Mechanistic Explanations: How Complex Idiosyncrasy Undermines Them

4. Adopting Scientific Eliminativism: How Complex Idiosyncrasy Undermines Scientific Utility

5. Rejecting Traditional Elimniativism: Why Pain is Still Real

6. Conclusion: Living with the Complex Reality of Pain

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Jennifer Corns is Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Glasgow, UK. Her research focuses on pain, affect, suffering, and death. She is the editor of The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Pain (Routledge, 2017), and co-editor of Philosophy of Pain: Unpleasantness, Emotion, and Deviance (Routledge, 2018) and Philosophy of Suffering: Metaphysics, Value, and Normativity (Routledge, forthcoming).