Colin Klein (ANU) - Are Pains Cognitively Penetrable?

Title: Are Pains Cognitively Penetrable? Abstract: Pretty much everyone who has thought about it assumes that pains are cognitively penetrable—that is, that our beliefs and desires can influence the presence or intensity of the pains that we feel. That seems so obvious that it is often taken for granted, though recently several philosophers have explicitly defended it. This is a marked contrast with the the cognitive penetrability of visual experience, which remains hotly debated.  I argue that the case of pain is less obvious than it initially appears. Top-down modulation of pain undoubtedly occurs, but unlike traditional penetrability this modulation is tonic, isotropic, and strategic. The upshot of this depends (I’ll argue) on why you care about penetrability in the first place. Rather than establishing cognitive penetrability, then, pain might be most useful for disentangling philosophical motivations that are often lumped together.

Date & time

Fri 16 Apr 2021, 2:00pm to 3:30pm


RSSS Auditorium, Level 1


Colin Klein (ANU)


Pamela Robinson


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