On Fri, Feb 24, 2012 at 2:27 PM, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net> wrote:
> On 2/24/2012 10:26 AM, Terren Suydam wrote:
>
> I certainly will. In the meantime, do you have an example from Damasio
> (or any other source) that could shed light on the pain/pleasure
> phenomenon?
>
> Terren
>
> http://www.hedweb.com/bgcharlton/damasioreview.html

I think emotions represent something above and beyond the more
fundamental feelings of pleasure and pain. Fear, for example, is
explainable using Damasio's framework as such, and I can translate it
to the way I am asking the question as above:

Question: What kind of organization arose during the evolutionary
process that led directly to the subjective experience of fear?
Answer: A cognitive architecture in which internal body states are
modeled and integrated using the same representational apparatus that
models the external world, so that one's adaptive responses
(fight/flight/freeze) to threatening stimuli become integrated into
the organism's cognitive state of affairs.  In short, fear is what it
feels like to have a fear response (as manifest in the body by various
hormonal responses) to some real or imagined stimuli.

You can substitute any emotion for fear, so long as you can identify
the way that emotion manifests in the body/brain in terms of hormonal
or other mechanisms. But when it comes to pain and pleasure, I don't
think that it is necessary to have such an advanced cognitive
architecture, I think. So on a more fundamental level, the question
remains:

What kind of organization arose during the evolutionary process that
led directly to the subjective experience of pain and pleasure?

Or put another way, what kind of mechanism feels pleasurable or
painful from the inside?

Presumably the answer to this question occurred earlier in the
evolutionary process than the emergence of fear, surprise, hunger, and
so on.

Terren

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