Research Group
in Analytic Philosophy

Imperative Transparency

Date: 22 January 2020

Time: 15:00

Place: Seminari de Filosofia UB

Abstract

Imperativism (Klein 2007, 2015; Martínez 2011, 2015) is the view that pain and other affective phenomenology depends on the *imperative content* of certain brain vehicles. Imperative content offers nice solutions to a few pressing problems for intentionalism about pain. Best of all, imperative content comes for free with all of our best metasemantic theories. I, in particular, defend a version of *first-order imperativism [FOI]*, where the imperative contents relevant to fixing the painfulness of a state have the subject's body as their main subject matter, perhaps along the lines of *See to it that bodily disturbance D does not exist!*. 

 

In this paper I respond to one of the main worries recently presented by (Barlassina & Hayward 2019) about FOI: that it cannot account for the "intrinsic reflexive motivational force" (*op. cit*, p. 5) of pain. I am going to agree with them: indeed FOI cannot account for this. But this is because pain does not have intrinsic reflexive motivational force. Or so I will argue. More precisely I will defend two claims: 

 

1.  Pain has intrinsic motivational force, but it is body-directed.

2.  Pain also has reflexive motivational force, but this one is extrinsic. 

 

Finally, I argue that, if I am right about the above, it's good that I am, since the "reflexive imperativism" defended by Barlassina and Hayward has a complicated relationship with its naturalistic ambitions: it is unclear how a naturalistic metasemantics for reflexive contents is supposed to work. 

 


References 

 

Barlassina, L & Hayward, MK 2019, 'More of me! Less of me!: Reflexive imperativism about affective phenomenal character', *Mind*. 

Klein, C 2007, 'An Imperative Theory of Pain', *The Journal of Philosophy*, vol. 104, pp. 517--532. 

Klein, C 2015, *What the body commands: The imperative theory of pain*, MIT Press. 

Martínez, M 2011, 'Imperative Content and the Painfulness of Pain', *Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences*, vol. 10, no. 1, pp. 67--90. 

Martínez, M 2015, 'Pains as reasons', *Philosophical Studies*, vol. 172, no. 9, pp. 2261--2274.