Utilitas

Research Article

Pain, Dislike and Experience

GUY KAHANEa1

a1 Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, Oxford University guy.kahane@philosophy.ox.ac.uk

Abstract

It is widely held that it is only contingent that the sensation of pain is disliked, and that when pain is not disliked, it is not intrinsically bad. This conjunction of claims has often been taken to support a subjectivist view of pain's badness on which pain is bad simply because it is the object of a negative attitude and not because of what it feels like. In this article, I argue that accepting this conjunction of claims does not commit us to this subjectivist view. They are compatible with an objectivist view of pain's badness, and with thinking that this badness is due to its phenomenal quality. Indeed, I argue that once the full range of options is in view, the most plausible account of pain is incompatible with subjectivism about value.