Aug 24, 2015

Our Next Visiting Speaker August 28 - Valerie Hardcastle

Dr. Valerie Hardcastle, Professor of Philosophy, Psychology, and Psychiatry & Behavioral Neuroscience at the University of Cincinnati, will be our next visiting speaker. She will be presenting a talk titled “Pain, chronic pain, and suffering: Pleasure gone awry?” on Friday, August 28 from 1:30-3:30 in McCain Hall, Room 185. Dr. Hardcastle's abstract is as follows:

What is pain exactly? It seems at once to be something with which we all have intimate experience, but at the same time, trying to articulate its fundamental nature is challenging. Is it information about your body? Is it a command to nurse? Is it akin to an emotion? Suffering is different from pain, but how? Philosophers would like to describe the thing that pain is. But I think the answers are not obvious – and, not surprisingly, more complicated that many might assume. I will argue that pain is a multi-faceted process. In particular, I examine what happens in the brain when patients experience pain or when they suffer. What I shall be urging is that there is an underlying structural commonality between pain and suffering, though they are not the same thing. This commonality forms the foundation for a theoretical approach to understanding pain and suffering as, counter-intuitively, instances of a type of pleasure. My claim is that pain and suffering, and probably other psychological processes or states, like addiction, are all part of the same species of brain function, and they are all tied to our motivational system. Perhaps they reflect how the brain processes all incoming stimuli.

We hope to see you there!

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