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Knowledge and Skepticism$
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Joseph Keim Campbell, Michael O'Rourke, and Harry S. Silverstein

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780262014083

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262014083.001.0001

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Knowing It Hurts

Knowing It Hurts

(p.202) (p.203) 9 Knowing It Hurts
Knowledge and Skepticism

Fred Dretske

The MIT Press

This chapter is an attempt to navigate through the epistemology of pain and of sensations in general. This issue is a challenging one and leads to a host of some of the most confounding problems of consciousness. Pain, as with other bodily sensations, is one feeling of which many assume one to be necessarily conscious. One cannot be in pain without feeling it, and feeling pain is an awareness of it. Whether or not we are necessarily conscious of our own pains is relevant to the epistemology of pain. If there are pains of which we are not aware, then there is obviously an epistemological problem about pain. To minimize problems, therefore, the focus here is on pains of which we are aware. For those who conceive of pain as something of which one is necessarily aware, the concern is simply with pain itself; for those who think that there exist pains one does not feel, the concern is with a subset of pains—those of which one is aware.

Keywords:   epistemology of pain, consciousness, bodily sensations, feeling, awareness, epistemological problem, subset of pains

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