David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Why is pain the opposite of pleasure? Several theories of pleasure and pain have substantial difficulty explaining this basic feature. Theories according to which pleasure and pain are individual sensations or features of sensations have particular difficulty, since it is difficult to understand how pairs of sensations could be opposites. Some philosophers argue that the pain is the opposite of pleasure because pain and pleasure are fundamentally a matter of desire and aversion, and desire and aversion are clear opposites. I argue that the structure of desire and aversion does not correspond to that of pleasure and pain. I propose that pleasure and pain are opposites because pleasure is good and pain is bad, and good and bad are clear opposites. I show that this view explains the structure of opposition of pleasure and pain, and I answer several objections.
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Olivier Massin (2014). Pleasure and Its Contraries. Review of Philosophy and Psychology 5 (1):15-40.
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