By Arne Vetlesen, John Irons
“Living consists of being uncovered to ache each second—not inevitably as an insistent fact, yet consistently as a possibility,” writes Arne Vetlesen in A Philosophy of Pain, a thought-provoking examine an inevitable and crucial element of the human . the following, Vetlesen addresses ache in lots of types, together with the discomfort inflicted in the course of torture; the discomfort suffered in affliction; the discomfort accompanying anxiousness, grief, and melancholy; and the soreness introduced through violence. He examines the twin nature of discomfort: how we strive to prevent it up to attainable in our day-by-day lives, and but conversely, we receive a thrill from looking it.
Vetlesen’s research of soreness is revealing, plumbing the very heart of lots of our such a lot excessive and intricate feelings. He appears at discomfort inside of assorted arenas of contemporary existence equivalent to kinfolk and paintings, and he particularly probes at a truly universal sleek phenomenon, the belief of pushing oneself to the restrict. attractive all through with the tips of thinkers equivalent to Søren Kierkegaard, Sigmund Freud, Martin Heidegger, Jean-Paul Sartre, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Max Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno, Alice Miller, Susan Sontag, and Melanie Klein, A Philosophy of Pain asks which got here first, considering or feeling, and explores the concept that and risk of empathy.
Vetlesen bargains an unique and insightful standpoint on anything that each one folks endure and endure—from a sprained ankle to a damaged center. even though discomfort is in itself disagreeable, our skill to believe it reminds us that we're alive.
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Extra resources for A Philosophy of Pain
As persons we are beings that recall a past, not the past as such, or as something general, but my past, understood as the significance and meaning which that in the past, with which I exist in a (conscious and unconscious) experiential relationship, has acquired for me, and precisely for me as opposed to all other people, who may have ‘taken part in’ many of the same situations and events. Likewise, every one of us projects a future – not any future but my future, formed as ideas about it, hope for it, fear of it, plans for it, all of 39 which, influenced by what my past has done to me, has predisposed me to – whether I will enter it with peace of mind or unease, erect or discouraged, hoping for the best or fearing the worst, made wise by good fortune or wise by adversity.
That a particular feeling – shame, for example – is about something and in terms of judgement and value has an opinion about its object, since what the feeling refers to appears to be meaningful, in a positive or negative sense, to the subject. e. created and maintained by the subject as an intentional being, a being that actively has thoughts, feelings and a willbased initiative regarding everything encountered in its world. But this does not catch all the dimensions of a feeling. For the strange thing about feelings, unlike thoughts and judgements and other characteristics of our cognitive abilities, is that they contain an affective dimension: the dimension of our being affected by them.
The insight that crowds in is that the body – the body’s exposure to pain – can just as well be claimed to be something that divides people as something that unites us all. It is the pain that decides: the pain determines whether I experience myself and my existence in the world as fundamentally equal with, and a part of, the existence of other people in it, or whether I conversely experience my existence as radically disconnected from that of others. So there is no point in giving an unequivocal answer based on the body as such; the pain that takes over, dominates, annihilates the body makes a considerable difference, determining whether my experienced equality and equal value with everyone else as human beings is simply replaced by a demarcating isolation from what is universally human.