The Placebo Effect

In The Philosophy of Pain. Routledge (forthcoming)

Jennifer Corns
University of Glasgow
Despite the conceptual problems in identifying the placebo effect, an increasing number of multidisciplinary inquiries rest on the assumption that there is a distinct class of effects, placebo effects. In this chapter, I argue against this assumption. I present cases and characterizations of the placebo effect as offered in the literature, and argue that the latter are subject to insurmountable problems. Moreover, I argue that identification of placebo effects as such is not useful for the three main purposes offered in the literature. I then offer suggestions for why it may remain intuitive that some effects are placebo effects and close by noting the potential benefits of ultimately explaining away these intuitions.
Keywords placebo effect  pain
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