Feeling pain for the very first time: The normative knowledge argument

In this paper I present a new argument against internalist theories of practical reason. My argument is inpired by Frank Jackson's celebrated Knowledge Argument. I ask what will happen when an agent experiences pain for the first time. Such an agent, I argue, will gain new normative knowledge that internalism cannot explain. This argument presents a similar difficulty for other subjectivist and constructivist theories of practical reason and value. I end by suggesting that some debates in meta-ethics and in the philosophy of mind might be more closely intertwined than philosophers in either area would like to believe.
Keywords Pain  Knowledge Argument  Internalism about Practical Reason  Bernard Williams
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DOI 10.1111/j.1933-1592.2009.00308.x
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Thomas Scanlon (1998). What We Owe to Each Other. Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

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