Normativity and Concepts of Bodily Sensations

Studia Philosophica: Jahrbuch Der Schweizerischen Philosoph Ischen Gesellschaft, Annuaire de la Société Suisse de Philosphie (forthcoming)
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Abstract

This paper challenges the philosophical assumption that bodily sensations are free from normative constraints. It examines the normative status of bodily sensations through two studies: a corpus-linguistic analysis and an experimental investigation. The corpus analysis shows that while emotions are frequently subject to normative judgments concerning their appropriateness, similar attitudes are less evident towards bodily sensations like feelings of pain, hunger and cold. In contrast, however, the experimental study reveals notable differences in conceptions of bodily sensations. It finds that sensations of hunger and cold are occasionally subject to normative assessment, with about half of the participants considering it reasonable to assess these sensations normatively.

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Kevin Reuter
University of Zürich

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