Adam Shriver
Oxford University
Many ethicists writing about well-being have assumed that claims made about the relationship between pleasure and well-being carry similar implications for the relationship between pain and well-being. I argue that the current neuroscience of pleasure and pain does not support this assumption. In particular, I argue that the experiences of pleasure and pain are mediated by different cognitive systems, that they make different contributions to human behavior in general and to well-being in particular, and that they bear fundamentally different relationships to our motivational systems and hence desires. I further argue that though there is ample evidence that pleasure can be dissociated from appetitive motivation, there is no compelling evidence suggesting that the unpleasantness of pain can be dissociated from the aversive motivational force of pains. I consider several objections to this claim, including Jennifer Corns’ recent arguments that the unpleasantness of pain experience can be dissociated from the motivational signal of pain, before briefly drawing some lessons for ethics
Keywords pain  pleasure  well-being  ill-being  flourishing  suffering
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DOI 10.1007/s13164-013-0171-2
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References found in this work BETA

Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford University Press.
Utilitarianism.J. S. Mill - 1861 - Oxford University Press UK.
The Methods of Ethics.Henry Sidgwick - 1871 - Thoemmes Press.
Utilitarianism.John Stuart Mill - 1863 - Cleveland: Cambridge University Press.
Welfare, Happiness, and Ethics.L. W. Sumner - 1996 - Oxford University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Rethinking the Negativity Bias.Jennifer Corns - 2018 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 9 (3):607-625.

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