On 4/11/2013 2:44 PM, Terren Suydam wrote:


On Thu, Apr 11, 2013 at 5:22 PM, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net <mailto:meeke...@verizon.net>> wrote:

    On 4/11/2013 7:32 AM, Terren Suydam wrote:

    On Wed, Apr 10, 2013 at 6:08 PM, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net
    <mailto:meeke...@verizon.net>> wrote:

        On 4/10/2013 2:08 PM, Terren Suydam wrote:
        Hi Telmo,

        Yes, those are good counter examples.

        But I think to say "pain and pleasure are fine-tuned by evolution..." 
is a
        sleight of hand. Pain and pleasure are phenomenological primitives. If
        evolution created those primitives, how did it do that? By what 
mechanism?

        Another way to think of this is to acknowledge that pain signals are 
mediated
        by special nerves in the nervous system. But what makes those nerves any
        different from a nerve that carries information about gentle pressure?  
You
        may be able to point to different neuroreceptors used, but then that 
shifts
        the question to why different neuroreceptors should result in different
        characters of experience.

        You have to ground the interpretation in behavior and its relation to
        evolutionary advantage. People who put their hand in the fire withdraw 
it
        quickly and exclaim to warn others.  People that don't suffer 
reproductive
        disadvantage.

        Brent


    Of course, but it still involves a sleight of hand.  Let me offer this 
example by
    way of trying to make this clear.

    You have creature A which does not suffer pain. Then some mutation occurs 
and
    creature B, descended from A, is born with the ability to feel pain when 
exposed to
    fire. We agree that creature B is more likely to reproduce than creature A. 
My
    question is, what is the nature of the mutation that suddenly ushered in the
    subjective experience of pain?  What is the mechanism?

    It needn't be one specific "pain" mechanism.  It could be a part of the 
brain that
    interprets a complex of neural signals as pain, it could be release of some
    hormones, it could be the development of specific pain sensors.  All that is
    significant is that it elicit the "pain response".

    Brent

So you would identify the subjective experience of pain with an objective description of some agent's pain response. That's no worse than my original idea I suppose, though vulnerable to the same sorts of objections... for instance, how would you account for phantom limb pain? headaches? What kind of mechanism leads to the pain experience when it is impossible to identify a pain response?


Why is it impossible to identify a pain response? Don't people with phantom limb pain complain and try to alleviate it?

Brent

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