Can Evaluativism about Unpleasant Pains meet the Normative Condition?

Jonathan Mitchell

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This paper assesses whether Evaluativism, as a view about the nature of unpleasant pains, can meet a specific normative condition. The normative condition says whatever candidate state is offered as an analysis of unpleasant pain should be intrinsically phenomenally bad for its subject to be in. I first articulate a method reflecting this condition, called the normative contrast method, and then frame Evaluativism in detail. The view is then tested through this method. I show that Evaluativism can explain why cases of evaluative thought, with the same contents as unpleasant pains, are not intrinsically phenomenally bad for their subjects to be in by appeal to intentional modes. However, I argue the appeal to perceptuality, which is central to this response is problematic, and therefore it remains unclear whether Evaluativism, as standardly articulated, can meet the normative condition on unpleasant pains.
Original languageEnglish
Early online date31 Jan 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 31 Jan 2019


  • Pain
  • Value
  • Evaluativism
  • Unpleasantness


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