On the supposed utility of a folk theory of pain

Brain and Mind 1 (2):223-228 (2000)
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Abstract

What follows raises objections to some arguments that claimthat a principle of applicability of ordinary pain talkconstrains developments in the pain sciences. A more apt pictureof lay use of pain language shows its non-theoretic character.Since instrumentalism and eliminativism are philosophical viewsabout the status of theories of pain, neither is a threatto clinical use of standard pain lingo. Perfected pain theoryis likely to enhance and improve pain language in clinicalsettings, should such theory find its way into popular ideasand talk of pain.

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