Feeling and Experiencing Pain. A Comparison Between Different Conceptual Models
In this paper the complex phenomenon of pain is discussed and analysed along different theoretical paths: cognitivism, hermeneutics, phenomenology. The neuro-cognitive approach is exemplified through Paul and Patricia Churchland’s writings; then H.-G. Gadamer’s hermeneutical approach is evaluated. While apparently opposite, they share a common assumption, namely that the body is basically to be conceived of as not really different from the Cartesian Res extensa. Some problems thus arise: in particular, the aspect of reflexivity implied in any experience of pain is overlooked. Accordingly, an adequate approach to feeling pain must take the phenomenological path. This means to discuss Husserl’s but also Scheler’s and Heidegger’s contributions, in order to bring to the fore the complexity of the phenomenon of pain, which shows a particular and paradoxical structure: exposing the subject feeling pain to its own internal exteriority.
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