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Max Scheler’s Phenomenology of Pain

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This paper offers a systematic account of Scheler’s phenomenology of pain, addresses its place in the history of the phenomenology of pain and traces its significance for pain research. Against the popular view, which maintains that for Scheler pain is a feeling-state, this paper argues that Scheler conceives of pain as an irreducibly ambiguous phenomenon: as both a non-intentional feeling-state and an intentional feeling. This paper further shows how this ambiguity leads Scheler to qualify pain as a stratified phenomenon, composed of causal, sensory, emotive and cognitive dimensions. This paper demonstrates how such a stratified conception enables one to draw meaningful distinctions between pain and other emotive phenomena, such as suffering, illness, and despair. This paper concludes with some remarks concerning the significance of Scheler’s phenomenology of pain for pain research.

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


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