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The Killing of Pain: How We See Ourselves?

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  1. But this supposedly superior vantage point comes under heavy criticism from eliminative materialism.
  2. Churchland would describe my reasoning as descriptive but unrelated to what is really happening.
  3. But there is a problem here because when he says in his article that language is an acquired characteristic of a brain area which has far higher and more complex capabilities
  4. Suppose that I could communicate on some higher level which not only said ?I am in pain,? but could even convey that actual sensation and various other informational components to another person.
  5. One would have a folk psychology concept of pain and one would not know any language.
  6. We can assume that chemical transformations of substances or the orbit of the earth describe how things actually are.

Thinking about the self is obviously quite different from thinking about something else because there is a degree of control and understanding that doesn't extend to other objects. Suppose the sun had a conscious, it might more easily perceive that objects orbit around it than would a person stuck on earth who does not have such a viewpoint. But we do have such a viewpoint with our selves, and so it is that many of our assumptions about ourselves have more credence (especially to ourselves) and seem more likely to be correct than our assumptions about other things.

[...] The subject without any concept of pain could even be an animal. What folk psychology would say is that both subjects jumped away because they were in pain. This could possibly be reduced to the neural level to say that the stimulus produces an unpleasant sensation which in turn triggers a ?jump away? reflex. Either way the stimulus produces the unpleasant sensation which is then defined as pain. Someone could argue that it takes no concept of turning spheres to perceive that the sun looks like it is moving. [...]

[...] It seems he is mistaking the communication of mental states for their essence. In other words, it is as if describing a mental state is inadequate simply because language is inadequate to truly capture the meaning of something. But I can feel pain and other things even if I don't know how to express it in language. Animals can behave as if they are in pain as well. Once when I was a boy I fell and started bleeding and the flow of blood was not greeted the same way as the flow of tears. [...]

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