On Fri, Feb 24, 2012 at 3:30 PM, Terren Suydam <terren.suy...@gmail.com> wrote:
> 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

To go a little further with this, take sexual orgasm. What is
happening during orgasm that makes it so pleasurable?

Presumably there are special circuits in the brain that get activated,
which correlate to the flush of orgasmic pleasure. But what is special
about those circuits?  From a 3p perspective, how is one brain circuit
differentiated from another?  It can't be as simple as the
neurotransmitters involved; what would make one neurotransmitter be
causative of pain and another of pleasure?  It's shape?  That seems

It seems that the consequence of that neural circuit firing would have
to achieve some kind of systemic effect that is characterized... how?

Pain is just as mysterious. It's not as simple as "what it feels like
for a system to become damaged". Phantom limbs, for example, are often
excruciatingly painful. Pain is clearly in the mind. What cognitive
mechanism could you characterize as feeling painful from the inside?

Failure to account for this in mechanistic terms, for me, is a direct
threat to the legitimacy of mechanism.


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