Sean Carrothers

Research title

The Command and Control of Pain

Research summary

I am primarily interested in the philosophy of mind, with a concentration in pain experience.

The bodily sensation of pain pervades the human experience; yet little is known about this ubiquitous phenomenon. I hold that pain experience is intentional in nature; that is, one undergoing said experience is for one to have a  thought directed toward or about something: here, namely, the pain sensation occurring in some bodily location. In contrast to the representational account of intentional content, I hold that the content of pain experience is imperative in nature; pain does not simply inform, rather pain demands action. I contend that imperative content is best able to capture this elusive phenomenon. Furthermore, I argue that it is the controlling aspect of pain which accounts for the oft present unpleasantness of the experience; pain is unpleasant insofar as it removes or diminishes one’s agency. In so doing, it is my hope that by understanding the commanding and controlling nature of pain, we are better able to attain command and control over the experience that is pain.


Grants

  • E.C. Whitehead Memorial Scholarship in Philosophy (2013)
  • Helen A. Christie Memorial Scholarship (2014)
  • John Odin Scholarship (2015)
  • Dr. W.N. Hargreaves-Mawdsley Third Year Scholarship (2015)
  • Helen A. Christie Memorial Scholarship (2015)