Pain: A Philosophical Borderland

Claude Imbert

in Wittgenstein and the Philosophy of Mind

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780199737666
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199933372 | DOI:
Pain: A Philosophical Borderland

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This chapter aims to show how far the discussion of pain unifies some apparently different topics in Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations. Wittgenstein’s discussion of pain and its expression is important for the private language argument (among other things), but the topic also bears on his enduring concern with St. Augustine’s Confessions, and is related to his experiences in World War II, when he served as an army medic and had to develop sophisticated ways of distinguishing expressions of pain from their simulations. It is argued that the contrast between Augustine’s account of language learning and the actual learning of pain expression strongly motivates Wittgenstein’s use of language games and the rejection of the former Bild theory. The chapter also explores the question of how the Stoic model of language influenced the Augustinian views that open the Investigations.

Keywords: Language game; pain; simulation; private language; confession; World War II; language as a facial gesture; Sraffa; Ricardo

Chapter.  8982 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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