The Unpleasantness of Pain for Nonhuman Animals

Authored by: Adam Shriver

The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Animal Minds

Print publication date:  July  2017
Online publication date:  July  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138822887
eBook ISBN: 9781315742250
Adobe ISBN:


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Most people agree that, in general, pain is bad and should be avoided when the pain is not necessary for the achievement of some future benefit. Moreover, the badness of the pain seems to be directly related to the experience of pain; pains are bad, at least in part, because they feel bad. Yet for roughly the past fifty years, philosophers have been puzzled by reports of people who claimed that they were “feeling pain” but not “bothered by it.” These reports are surprising because on one common interpretation, pain is essentially bothersome; one cannot have a pain without having an experience that is unpleasant or aversive in some way.

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