•  105
    Philosophy of Suffering (edited book)
    Routledge. forthcoming.
    A collection, edited by David Bain, Michael Brady, and Jennifer Corns, originating in our Value of Suffering Project. Table of Contents: Michael Wheeler - ‘How should affective phenomena be studied?’; Julien Deonna & Fabrice Teroni – ‘Pleasures, unpleasures, and emotions’; Hilla Jacobson – ‘The attitudinal representational theory of painfulness fleshed out’; Tim Schroeder – ‘What we represent when we represent the badness of getting hurt’; Hagit Benbaji – ‘A defence of the inner view of pain’;…Read more
  •  1009
    Pains that Don't Hurt
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 92 (2): 305-320. 2014.
    Pain asymbolia is a rare condition caused by brain damage, usually in adulthood. Asymbolics feel pain but appear indifferent to it, and indifferent also to visual and verbal threats. How should we make sense of this? Nikola Grahek thinks asymbolics’ pains are abnormal, lacking a component that make normal pains unpleasant and motivating. Colin Klein thinks that what is abnormal is not asymbolics’ pains, but asymbolics: they have a psychological deficit making them unresponsive to unpleasant pain…Read more
  •  25
    There are good reasons for wanting to adopt an intentionalist account of experiences generally, an account according to which having an experience is a matter of representing the world as being some way or other—according to which, that is, such mental episodes have intrinsic, conceptual, representational content. Such an approach promises, for example, to provide a satisfying conception of experiences’ subjectivity, their phenomenal character, and their crucial role in constituting reasons for…Read more
  •  124
    The best route into philosophy is not to consider a definition, but to get your own philosophical cogs turning. Consider the questions philosophers engage and think about the many different ways they've addressed them. But, most important, grapple with the questions yourself.
  •  23
    Commissioned for Routledge Encylopaedia of Philosophy
  •  359
    When Pain Isn't Painful
    The Philosophers' Magazine 3. 2015.
    Sometimes the philosophical armchair gets bumped by empirical facts. So it is when thinking about pain. For good or ill (good, actually, as we shall see) most of us are intimately acquainted with physical pain, the kind you feel when you stand on a nail or burn your hand. And, from the armchair, it can seem blindingly obvious that pain is essentially unpleasant. There are of course unpleasant experiences that aren’t pains – nausea or itches, for example – but surely there aren’t pains that don’t…Read more
  •  33
    Table of Contents: Olivier Massin, 'Pleasure and Its Contraries'; Colin Klein, 'The Penumbral Theory of Masochistic Pleasure'; Siri Leknes and Brock Bastian, 'The Benefits of Pain'; Valerie Gray Hardcastle, 'Pleasure Gone Awry? A New Conceptualization of Chronic Pain and Addiction'; Richard Gray, 'Pain, Perception and the Sensory Modalities: Revisiting the Intensive Theory'; Jonathan Cohen and Matthew Fulkerson, Affect, Rationalization, and Motivation; Murat Aydede, 'How to Unify Theories of Se…Read more
  •  409
    The Philosophy of Pain - Introduction
    In David Bain, Jennifer Corns & Michael Brady (eds.), The Philosophy of Pain, Routledge. forthcoming.
    Over recent decades, pain has received increasing attention as – with ever greater sophistication and rigour – theorists have tried to answer the deep and difficult questions it poses. What is pain’s nature? What is its point? In what sense is it bad? The papers collected in this volume are a contribution to that effort ...
  •  27
    While many agree that unpleasant pains motivate, little attention has been paid to this idea’s action-theoretic significance, to what kind of motivation pains are, or to the status of the behaviour they motivate. I claim that some pain behaviour belongs to a neglected category. For it is not brute behaviour, but action; yet it is not motivated by desires or intentions, nor like other behaviour that philosophers construe as neither brute nor desire-motivated, such as habitual action. Rather it…Read more
  •  201
    Pain (Oxford Bibliographies Online)
    Oxford Bibliographies Online. 2015.
    Philosophers think of pain less and less as a paradigmatic instance of mentality, for which they seek a general account, and increasingly as a rich and fruitful topic in its own right. Pain raises specific questions: about mentality and consciousness certainly, but also about embodiment, affect, motivation, and value, to name but a few. The growth of philosophical interest in pain has gone hand-in-hand with the growth of pain science, which burgeoned in the 1960s. This is no accident: developmen…Read more
  •  319
    Evaluativism is best thought of as a way of enriching a perceptual view of pain to account for pain’s unpleasantness or painfulness. Once it was common for philosophers to contrast pains with perceptual experiences (McGinn 1982; Rorty 1980). It was thought that perceptual experiences were intentional (or content-bearing, or about something), whereas pains were representationally blank. But today many of us reject this contrast. For us, your having a pain in your toe is a matter not of your sens…Read more
  •  88
    What the Body Commands, by Colin Klein (review)
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy (1): 1-4. 2017.
    In various papers, Colin Klein has argued that pain experiences are commands. This monograph goes well beyond the papers, re-shaping his ‘imperativist’ view, setting it within a general account of ‘homeostatic sensations’, presenting new arguments, and criticising alternatives. Original, empirically informed, clear, and often persuasive, it is a lovely book.
  •  446
    Why Take Painkillers?
    Noûs 53 (2): 462-490. 2019.
    Accounts of the nature of unpleasant pain have proliferated over the past decade, but there has been little systematic investigation of which of them can accommodate its badness. This paper is such a study. In its sights are two targets: those who deny the non-instrumental disvalue of pain's unpleasantness; and those who allow it but deny that it can be accommodated by the view—advanced by me and others—that unpleasant pains are interoceptive experiences with evaluative content. Against the form…Read more
  •  203
    Color, externalism, and switch cases
    Southern Journal of Philosophy 45 (3): 335-362. 2007.
    I defend externalism about color experiences and color thoughts, which I argue color objectivism requires. Externalists face the following question: would a subject’s wearing inverting lenses eventually change the color content of, for instance, those visual experiences the subject reports with “red”? From the work of Ned Block, David Velleman, Paul Boghossian, Michael Tye, and Fiona Macpherson, I extract problems facing those who answer “Yes” and problems facing those who answer “No.” I show ho…Read more
  •  285
    The location of pains
    Philosophical Papers 36 (2): 171-205. 2007.
    Perceptualists say that having a pain in a body part consists in perceiving the part as instantiating some property. I argue that perceptualism makes better sense of the connections between pain location and the experiences undergone by people in pain than three alternative accounts that dispense with perception. Turning to fellow perceptualists, I also reject ways in which David Armstrong and Michael Tye understand and motivate perceptualism, and I propose an alternative interpretation, one tha…Read more
  •  198
    Daniel Dennett. Reconciling science and our self-conception. By Matthew (review)
    Philosophical Quarterly 55 (219): 369-371. 2005.
    Over 35 years, Daniel Dennett has articulated a rich and expansive philosophical outlook. There have been elaborations, refinements, and changes of mind, exposi- tory and substantive. This makes him hard to pin down. Does he, for example, think intentional states are real? In places, he sounds distinctly instrumentalist; elsewhere, he avows realism, ‘sort of’. What is needed is a map, charting developments and tracing dialectical threads through his extensive writings and the different regions o…Read more
  •  689
    What makes pains unpleasant
    Philosophical Studies 166 (1): 69-89. 2013.
    The unpleasantness of pain motivates action. Hence many philosophers have doubted that it can be accounted for purely in terms of pain’s possession of indicative representational content. Instead, they have explained it in terms of subjects’ inclinations to stop their pains, or in terms of pain’s imperative content. I claim that such “noncognitivist” accounts fail to accommodate unpleasant pain’s reason-giving force. What is needed, I argue, is a view on which pains are unpleasant, motivate, and…Read more
  •  450
    Our preoccupation with pain can seem an eccentricity of philosophers. But just a little reflection leads one into the thickets. When I see a pencil on my desk, I’m aware of a physical thing and its objective properties; but what am I aware of when I feel a pain in my toe? A pain, perhaps? Or my toe’s hurting? But what is the nature of such things? Are they physical? Are they objective? To avoid unexperienced pains, we might say they are subjective, or are themselves experiences. But do those wit…Read more
  •  433
    The Imperative View of Pain
    Journal of Consciousness Studies 18 (9-10): 164-85. 2011.
    Pain, crucially, is unpleasant and motivational. It can be awful; and it drives us to action, e.g. to take our weight off a sprained ankle. But what is the relationship between pain and those two features? And in virtue of what does pain have them? Addressing these questions, Colin Klein and Richard J. Hall have recently developed the idea that pains are, at least partly, experiential commands—to stop placing your weight on your ankle, for example. In this paper, I reject their accounts. A…Read more