A Hole in the Box and a Pain in the Mouth

Philosophical Quarterly 71 (4):pqaa091 (2021)
  Copy   BIBTEX


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.

Similar books and articles

Pain, paradox and polysemy.Michelle Liu - 2021 - Analysis 81 (3):461-470.
Locating and Representing Pain.Simone Gozzano - 2019 - Philosophical Investigations 42 (4):313-332.
The location of pains.David Bain - 2007 - Philosophical Papers 36 (2):171-205.
Suffering Pains.Olivier Massin - 2020 - In Jennifer Corns & Michael S. Brady David Bain (ed.), Philosophy of Suffering: Metaphysics, Value and Normativity. London: Routledge. pp. 76-100.
Knowing Pain.S. Benjamin Fink - 2012 - In Esther Cohen (ed.), Knowledge and Pain. Rodopi. pp. 84--1.
Fish and microchips: on fish pain and multiple realization.Matthias Michel - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (9):2411-2428.
Bad by Nature, An Axiological Theory of Pain.Olivier Massin - 2017 - In Jennifer Corns (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Pain. New York: Routledge. pp. 321-333.
The Argument from Pain: A New Argument for Indirect Realism.Dirk Franken - 2016 - Grazer Philosophische Studien, Vol. 86-2012 93 (1):106 - 129.
Malcolm on criteria.Charles Sayward - 2004 - Behavior and Philosophy 32 (2):349-358.


Added to PP

384 (#52,794)

6 months
123 (#32,560)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author Profiles

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