David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Behavior and Philosophy 32 (2):349-358 (2004)
Consider the general proposition that normally when people pain-behave they are in pain. Where a traditional philosopher like Mill tries to give an empirical proof of this proposition (the argument from analogy), Malcolm tries to give a transcendental proof. Malcolm’s argument is transcendental in that he tries to show that the very conditions under which we can have a concept provide for the application of the concept and the knowledge that the concept is truly as well as properly applied. The natural basis for applying the concept of pain to someone else is pain-behavior like groaning and crying out. To know that a person pain-behaving is in pain is to rule out countervailing circumstances (smiles, exaggerated cries, winks, absence of plausible cause, and so on). The basic move by Malcolm is to make these special conditions a function merely of the concept of pain.
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