Education And Debate

Commentary: Probably no pain in the absence of “self”

BMJ 1996; 313 doi: (Published 28 September 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:796
  1. Zbigniew Szawarski, lecturera
  1. a Centre for Philosophy and Health Care, University of Wales Swansea, Swansea SA2 8PP

    What happens if I am stung by a wasp? The first thing is a complex reaction in my body which results in the feeling of sharp pain and my violent reaction to the wasp. The pain is, of course, a specific subjective, qualitative feeling but it would not be possible unless there was a body (organism) which was exposed and reacted to the noxious stimulus. Thus pain has a dual nature. As a subjective, conscious feeling it is always my pain happening inside or on my body and nobody else can experience it. As an objective bodily, neurophysiological phenomenon it can be described and explained in the objective language of science.

    Objectivity, subjectivity, and “self”

    The distinction implies several fundamental questions: what is the relation between the objective and subjective aspects …

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