The spatiality of pain

South African Journal of Philosophy 25 (4):336-349 (2006)
Abstract
How far can one ascribe a spatial meaning to pain? When I have a pain, for instance, in my leg, how should one understand the “in” in the “pain in my leg”? I argue (contrary to Noordhof) that pain does have a spatial meaning, but (contrary to Tye) that the spatiality of pain is not to be understood in the standard sense of spatial enclosure. Instead, spatiality has a special meaning with regard to pain. By defining pain in phenomenological terms as a disturbed form of bodily perception, I contend that the “in” in “pain in my body” has a dual spatial meaning: firstly, it signifies my internal perceptual relation to a disturbing part of my body; secondly, it denotes the external perceptual relation to my environment that the disturbance forces me to take. Once the spatiality of pain is understood in terms of such a perceptual relation, it is not restricted to localisable hurts, but pertains to all forms of pain, such as affliction and agony. South African Journal of Philosophy Vol. 25 (4) 2006: pp. 336-349
Keywords Epistemology  Meaning  Pain  Spatiality  Noordhof, Paul  Tye, Michael
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