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What Pain Asymbolia Really Shows

PainSci » bibliography » Klein 2015

One article on PainSci cites Klein 2015: Pain is Weird

original abstract Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.

Pain asymbolics feel pain, but act as if they are indifferent to it. Nikola Grahek argues that such patients present a clear counterexample to motivationalism about pain. I argue that Grahek has mischaracterized pain asymbolia. Properly understood, asymbolics have lost a general capacity to care about their bodily integrity. Asymbolics’ indifference to pain thus does not show something about the intrinsic nature of pain ; it shows something about the relationship between pains and subjects, and how that relationship might break down. I explore the consequences of such a view for both motivationalism and the categorization of pain asymbolia as a syndrome, arguing for a close link between asymbolia and various forms of depersonalization.

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