Week 20, SPAH Seminar Series: Feeling that one is in pain and knowing that one is in pain

A Seminar by Dr Lucy Campbell, University of Warwick

  • Thu 18 Feb 21

    15:00 - 17:00

  • Online


  • Event speaker

    Dr Lucy Campbell, University of Warwick

  • Event type

    Lectures, talks and seminars
    SPAH Seminar Series

  • Event organiser

    Philosophy and Art History, School of

  • Contact details

    Hannah Whiting, School Manager

The School of Philosophy and Art History run seminars every Thursday during term time.

Dr Lucy Campbell from the University of Warwick is running a seminar on 'Feeling that one is in pain and knowing that one is in pain' this Thursday - 18 February 2021. 


It is sometimes suggested that a person knows that she is in pain (when she does) by ‘feeling that’ she is in pain. If this is true, it would undermine a whole philosophical tradition, one which views self-knowledge, canonically including self-knowledge of pain, as importantly unlike other forms of knowledge in virtue of being ‘baseless’. But what does it mean to say that a person ‘can feel that’ she is in pain? I consider various interpretations of ‘feeling that one is in pain’, and argue that on none of these does ‘S can feel that she is in pain’ cite a suitable basis for S’s knowledge that she is in pain. I argue that depending on how ‘feeling that one is in pain’ it is interpreted, the claim that one's self-knowledge of pain is based on feeling that one is in pain is either absurd, or empty. I suggest that we should take the baselessness of self-knowledge seriously. Doing so would rightly be thought theoretically worrisome if it entailed that self-knowledge were utterly opaque to the understanding. But it does not entail this. I close by explaining how a Constitutivist account of self-knowledge can view it as genuinely baseless but yet perfectly explicable. 

If you would like to join this seminar, please email Hannah Whiting, School Manager, for the zoom link: hannah.whiting@essex.ac.uk .

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