[lit-ideas] Re: [lit-ideas]

  • From: Omar Kusturica <omarkusto@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 24 Jan 2015 13:15:55 +0100

If the pain had nothing whatsoever to do with the peripheral nerves in the
part of the body which is affected, local anesthesia couldn't work.


On Sat, Jan 24, 2015 at 10:08 AM, Donal McEvoy <donalmcevoyuk@xxxxxxxxxxx>

> >the anglosphere are excited by having found the way to claim that the dog
> does not have 'pain' that the feeling is "in" the brain, that the pain is
> not "in" the hand, etc.>
> None of these alleged idiots suggested "that the dog does not have
> 'pain'". It may be idiotic to suggest they did given the whole discussion
> accepted that dogs may, like humans, experience pain - even, more
> specifically, toothache.
> The suggestion that pain is not located in the part of the body 'in which
> it is felt' is supported by modern neurophysiology - and by facts like
> patients experiencing great pain in limbs that have been amputated etc. and
> by our ability to remove 'the experience of pain in a part of the body' [an
> expression that itself may mislead] without treating that part of the body
> but by giving painkillers to the part of the brain that creates the
> pain-experience.
> There is a more general point here about the nature of consciousness (of
> which pains may form a part) - consciousness is not a mere mirror to nature
> or imprint from external reality but is a product of a very complex set of
> processes that simulate a 'reality' for us. When I touch this keyboard so
> that I experience it as if "it is there", the keyboard "is there" but my
> experience of it being there is a simulation of its being there.
> What misleads us is that we do not experience our experience as if it is a
> simulation but as if it is giving us direct access to reality - but we are
> wrong to be mislead, by the immediacy and apparent "realism" of experience,
> into thinking it gives us direct or unmediated access to reality. Our
> consciousness of the external world - including our sense of external W1
> objects by sight or touch - is located in W2 and not in W1: when I touch an
> external W1 object it may appear that my touch-experience is 'out there' in
> W1 (at the border of my W1 fingertips and the W1 object they connect with),
> but in truth this W1 interface is not where my touch-experience is but is
> merely a W1 source that is elaborately processed so as to create my
> touch-experience in W2.
> So the derogatory remarks about empiricism are misplaced in the case of
> Popper: for Popper is not an empiricist in the tradition of Hume et al but
> a critical empiricist in a tradition that derives from Kant.
> Speaking of dogs, Pavlov's famous dog is a behaviourist fiction based on
> misinterpreting the dog's responses using the idea of a reflex arc, an idea
> that is derived from traditional and uncritical empiricism of Hume's sort -
> the Pavlovian "reflex arc" is merely the dogmas of associationist
> psychology in the disguise of an empirical test ("disguise" because
> Pavlov's work does not falsify a non-associationist interpretation of the
> same experiments, and so does not constitute a proper empirical test since
> it provides no differential prediction to test between an associationist
> and a non-associationist interpretation). Popper is very clear that in his
> theory of knowledge, which is supported by modern neurophysiology, there is
> no such thing as a "reflex arc" - there is no such thing as a "conditioned
> reflex" or an "unconditioned reflex". It is traditional empiricism that is
> blind to the truth that toothache *as an experience* is not located in
> the tooth, no matter how vivid the experience appears to suggest that the
> pain is located in the tooth. The clear way of thinking about these things
> is to disentangle the W1 aspects that go to create the experience of
> toothache from the W2 experience of having a toothache, rather than
> confusedly thinking the W2 experience means the toothache is located in W1
> (which is what, uncritically, we are wont to do).
> Dnl
>   On Saturday, 24 January 2015, 6:11, Adriano Palma <Palma@xxxxxxxxxx>
> wrote:
> It is indeed embarrassing this constant exhibition of idiocy on the part
> of this people.
> A, not really -- but let me be generous, quasi noble while stupid
> tradition of empiricism slips into behaviourism and all of sudden all
> assholes in the anglosphere are excited by having found the way to claim
> that the dog does not have 'pain' that the feeling is "in" the brain, that
> the pain is not "in" the hand, etc.
> fascinating
> -----Original Message-----
> From: lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:
> lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of dmarc-noreply@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
> Sent: 24 January 2015 01:42
> To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
> Subject: [lit-ideas] Wittgenstein's Toothache
> In a message dated 1/23/2015 11:52:34 A.M. Eastern Standard Time,
> donalmcevoyuk@xxxxxxxxxxx writes in "Re: Facing the Music": Take a dog
> with toothache. The dog has no access to W3 in Popper's conception. The dog
> may experience pain as if the pain is emanating from the tooth with caries.
> We  humans may know this is an illusion: the pain is not located in the
> tooth at all rather the pain is in the brain or is a product of the brain,
> and the brain then  'locates' the pain as if it is in the body where the
> tooth is. The dog 's  experience of toothache involves a complex
> interaction of W1 states (including  links between the W1 action of caries
> and the W1 of the central nervous system)  and W2 states (including the
> conscious state which 'locates' the pain as if is  emanating from the
> tooth). A human can experience toothache in a way that  involves just W1
> and W2 in a way similar to the dog. But the dog will have no  conscious
> understanding that its brain is 'locating' the pain in the tooth (when  the
> pain is actually located in the brain rather than in the tooth), and the
> dog  will have no grasp of the issue of caries or its effect on its central
> nervous  system (for "caries" and "CNS" here involve W3 theoretical
> knowledge), nor will  the dog grasp in W3 terms that there is a potential
> solution to its plight in  the form of a veterinary dentist:- conversely,
> the human understanding of  toothache, where it encompasses all these
> things that a dog cannot grasp, may be  a W3-dependent understanding.
> So there is a merely W1/W2 sense in which a human  might experience and
> know that they are having a toothache, but there is also a  W3-dependent
> sense of experiencing and knowing that they are having a toothache  which
> goes beyond this. We may also speculate as to the downward causation of
> W3-dependent experience on experience in its W1/W2 form: for example, a
> person's experience of a toothache may be altered by their W3-dependent
> knowledge, for example that the pain is simply a figment of the CSN/brain
> or that dental treatment is available to cure it - so we may for example
> speculate (and even subject to psychological tests) that the experience of
> having a toothache may  differ if we are in the position to get immediate
> treatment from how we experience it when there is no possibility of getting
> any treatment.
> This  kind of speculation and testing abandons the idea that 'experience'
> is always  one simple level of entity for the idea that experience is a
> complex product of  many interacting layers, including different layers
> that belong or derive from  W1, W2 or W3.
> I don't know if it was Moore who instilled in Witters a  fascination with
> toothaches.
> He (Witters) used to say, to echo Aune, that
> i. I have a toothache.
> is incorrigible, and H. P. G. makes a few  interesting points about
> a. incorrigibility
> and
> b.  privileged access
> (borrowing from Witters and Anscombe) in "From the  banal to the bizarre"
> (one of his publications: his presidential address to the  American
> Philosophical Association, Pacific Division).
> It may different,  it seems, with POPPER having a toothache.
> Since McEvoy mentions dogs, it  may do to mention Witters on lions, and
> rephrase.
> Androcles, however,  apparently did understand the lion's ache -- and was
> nicely rewarded for it  (from being eaten by the animal).
> For Witters says,
> "If a lion  could talk, we could not understand him."
> This is  elucidatory:
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophical_Investigations
> It  is this emphasis on becoming attentive to the social backdrop against
> which  language is rendered intelligible that explains Wittgenstein's
> elliptical  comment that "If a lion could talk, we could not understand
> him."
> Witters' claim is _general_ (while he denied it, he craved for  them). An
> instance would be of a lion saying:
> i. I have a  toothache.
> Or
> ii. I have an ache in my right anterior foot,  Androcles.
> (Androcles: Mmm. Let me see. No wonder. You have a big thorn  on the pad
> there. Let me remove it, force pus from the wound, and bandage  it.)
> Mutatis mutandis, McEvoy's dog:
> "Take a dog with toothache. The dog has no access to W3 in Popper's
> conception. The dog may experience pain as if the pain is emanating from
> the tooth with caries."
> In summary, while
> iii. I have an ache in my tooth.
> may be _literally_ false.
> ii. I have a toothache.
> may IMPLICATE that
> iii. It seems to me AS IF I have an ache in my tooth.
> -- for dogs, lions, and humans alike. (Cfr. H. P. G., "Can I have a pain
> in  my tail?").
> Cheers,
> Speranza
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