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The Subject of Pain: Husserl’s Discovery of the Lived-Body

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The paper aims to develop a phenomenology of pain on the basis of the insights introduced in Husserl’s phenomenology. First, I suggest that pain is given to intuition as an indubitable and a bodily localizable experience. Since these two characteristics are incompatible with each other, I argue that the experience of pain is paradoxical. Second, I contend that philosophy of pain provides six ways to resolve this paradox: semiological, causal, associationist, representational, perceptual, and phenomenological. Third, my central goal is to develop the phenomenological resolution and to show that it culminates in the realization that the subject of pain is neither the disembodied consciousness nor the physiological body but the lived-body, conceived as the field of sensings. Fourth, I offer a phenomenological account of the structure of pain experience. I suggest that this structure could be characterized as the already appropriated body’s inner protest against its constitutive appropriation.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Philosophy, Chinese University of Hong KongHong Kong SAR


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