Sensations and pain processes

Philosophical Psychology 13 (3):299-311 (2000)
This paper discusses recent neuroscientific research that indicates a solution for what we label the ''causal problem'' of pain qualia, the problem of how the brain generates pain qualia. In particular, the data suggest that pain qualia naturally supervene on activity in a specific brain region: the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC). The first section of this paper discusses several philosophical concerns regarding the nature of pain qualia. The second section overviews the current state of knowledge regarding the neuroanatomy and physiology of pain processing. The third section highlights the recent research by Rainville et al. [(1997) Pain affect encoded in human anterior cingulate but not somatosensory cortex, Science, 277, 968-971], which suggests that pain affect is encoded in the ACC. The final section of the paper spells out exactly how these data affect the causal problem of pain qualia
Keywords Causation  Cognitive Science  Pain  Qualia  Science  Sensation
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DOI 10.1080/09515080050128132
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Thomas Nagel (1974). What is It Like to Be a Bat? Philosophical Review 83 (October):435-50.

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