The Polysemy View of Pain

Mind and Language 38 (1):198-217 (2023)
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Abstract

Philosophers disagree about what the folk concept of pain is. This paper criticises existing theories of the folk concept of pain, i.e. the mental view, the bodily view, and the recently proposed polyeidic view. It puts forward an alternative proposal – the polysemy view – according to which pain terms like “sore,” “ache” and “hurt” are polysemous, where one sense refers to a mental state and another a bodily state, and the type of polysemy at issue reflects two distinct but related concepts of pain. Implications with respect to issues in philosophy of pain are also drawn.

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Michelle Liu
Monash University

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