Felt evaluations: A theory of pleasure and pain

American Philosophical Quarterly 39 (1):13-30 (2002)
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This paper argues that pleasure and pains are not qualia and they are not to be analyzed in terms of supposedly antecedently intelligible mental states like bodily sensation or desire. Rather, pleasure and pain are char- acteristic of a distinctive kind of evaluation that is common to emotions, desires, and (some) bodily sensations. These are felt evaluations: pas- sive responses to attend to and be motivated by the import of something impressing itself on us, responses that are nonetheless simultaneously con- stitutive of that import by virtue of the broader rational patterns of which they are a part and that they serve to de?ne. This account of felt eval- uations makes sense of the way in which pleasures and pains grab our attention and motivate us to act and of the peculiar dual objectivity and subjectivity of their implicit evaluations, while o?ering a phenomenology adequate to both emotional and bodily pleasures and pains.



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Bennett W. Helm
Franklin and Marshall College

Citations of this work

What makes pains unpleasant?David Bain - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 166 (1):69-89.
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