A Hole in the Box and a Pain in the Mouth

Philosophical Quarterly 71 (4):pqaa091 (2021)
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Abstract

The following argument is widely assumed to be invalid: there is a pain in my finger; my finger is in my mouth; therefore, there is a pain in my mouth. The apparent invalidity of this argument has recently been used to motivate the conclusion that pains are not spatial entities. We argue that this is a mistake. We do so by drawing attention to the metaphysics of pains and holes and provide a framework for their location which both vindicates the argument's validity and explains why it appears invalid. To this end, we show that previously proposed explanations for the apparent invalidity of the argument fail. Moreover, we show that our account accommodates and explains seemingly opposing linguistic data. We conclude that the ‘pain-in-mouth argument’ does not undermine the view that pains are spatial entities.

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Author Profiles

Henry Ian Schiller
University of Sheffield
Laurenz Casser
University of Texas at Austin (PhD)