In Murat Aydede (ed.), Pain: New Essays on its Nature and the Methodology of its Study. Cambridge Ma: Bradford Book/Mit Press (2005)
|Abstract||When you suffer a pain are you suffering a sensation? An emotion? An aversion? Pain typically has all three components, and others too. There is indeed a distinct sensory system devoted to pain, with its own nociceptors and pathways. As a species of somesthesis, pain has a distinctive sensory organization and its own special sensory qualities. I think it is fair to call it a distinct sensory modality, devoted to nociceptive somesthetic discrimination. But the typical pain kicks off other processes too. For one it can grab your attention in a distinctive way, alerting you to its presence and sometimes obliging you to focus attention on the damaged member. Intense pain can eliminate your ability to think about anything else. Pain typically has direct and immediate motivational consequences: one wants it to stop, has an incentive to do whatever one can to reduce it, and is gratified by its termination. As these desires and motives collide with neural reality, emotional components of mental anguish, anxiety, and dread arise. The suffering involved in suffering from pain has multiple strands: it is not just the painfulness of the sensation, or the frustration of the desire that it end, but also the anguish over the possibility that it will never end, and the impossibility, if the pain is sufficiently intense, of focusing one’s attention on anything else|
|Keywords||Pain Perception Sensation|
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