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Pain and intentionality

Saulius Geniusas

pp. 113-133

This paper addresses the oldest controversy in the phenomenology of pain, which concerns the intentional nature of pain experience. First, I present the central reasons that underlie the view that originates in Carl Stumpf's writings, which suggests that pain is a non-intentional feeling-sensation. Second, I present the evidence that underlies the Brentanian perspective, which suggests that pain is an irreducibly intentional experience. Third, I argue that Edmund Husserl's schema, "apprehension—content of apprehension," enables one to reconcile these positions. In this regard, I argue that this schema provides the conceptual basis for defending two claims: (1) pain is an irreducibly stratified phenomenon; (2) while some of its strata are non-intentional, others are marked by intentionality. Fourth, with the aim of demonstrating the philosophical significance of this schema in the framework of phenomenological pain research, I open a brief dialogue between phenomenology and cognitive science. I show how this schema can clarify the experiential structures of lobotomized, cingulotomized as well as morphinized patients as well as how it can shed light on such syndromes as threat hypersymbolia, pain asymbolia and congenital analgesia.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-55340-5_7

Full citation:

Geniusas, S. (2017)., Pain and intentionality, in R. Walton, S. Taguchi & R. Rubio (eds.), Perception, affectivity, and volition in Husserl's phenomenology, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 113-133.

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