The Myth of Pain

From Philosophical Psychopathology

The Myth of Pain

By Valerie Gray Hardcastle

Valerie Gray Hardcastle argues that both professional and lay definitions of pain are wrongheaded—with consequences for how pain and pain patients are treated, how psychological disorders are understood, and how clinicians define the mind/body relationship.

A Bradford Book

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Summary

Valerie Gray Hardcastle argues that both professional and lay definitions of pain are wrongheaded—with consequences for how pain and pain patients are treated, how psychological disorders are understood, and how clinicians define the mind/body relationship.

Pain, although very common, is little understood. Worse still, according to Valerie Gray Hardcastle, both professional and lay definitions of pain are wrongheaded—with consequences for how pain and pain patients are treated, how psychological disorders are understood, and how clinicians define the mind/body relationship.

Hardcastle offers a biologically based complex theory of pain processing, inhibition, and sensation and then uses this theory to make several arguments: (1) psychogenic pains do not exist; (2) a general lack of knowledge about fundamental brain function prevents us from distinguishing between mental and physical causes, although the distinction remains useful; (3) most pain talk should be eliminated from both the folk and academic communities; and (4) such a biological approach is useful generally for explaining disorders in pain processing. She shows how her analysis of pain can serve as a model for the analysis of other psychological disorders and suggests that her project be taken as a model for the philosophical analysis of disorders in psychology, psychiatry, and neuroscience.

Hardcover

Out of Print ISBN: 9780262082839 314 pp. | 6 in x 9 in

Paperback

Out of Print ISBN: 9780262582100 314 pp. | 6 in x 9 in

Endorsements

  • The field of pain has long needed a philosopher's voice. Now it has one.

    C. Richard Chapman

    University of Washington