On Pain and the Privation Theory of Evil
Title: On Pain and the Privation Theory of Evil
Author: SAMET, Irit
Citation: European Journal for Philosophy of Religion, 2012, 4, 1, 19
The paper argues that pain is not a good counter-example to the privation theory of evil. Objectors to the privation thesis see pain as too real to be accounted for in privative terms. However, the properties for which pain is intuitively thought of as real, i.e. its localised nature, intensity, and quality (prickly, throbbing, etc.) are features of the senso-somatic aspect of pain. This is a problem for the objectors because, as findings of modern science clearly demonstrate, the senso-somatic aspect of pain is neurologically and clinically separate from the emotional-psychological aspect of suffering. The intuition that what seems so real in pain is also the source of pain’s negative value thus falls apart. As far as the affective aspect of pain, i.e. ‘painfulness’ is concerned, it cannot refute the privation thesis either. For even if this is indeed the source of pain’s badness, the affective aspect is best accounted for in privative terms of loss and negation. The same holds for the effect of pain on the aching person.
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