In “Considering the lobster”, David Foster Wallace wrote: “Since pain is a totally subjective mental experience, we do not have access to pain except our own“. That was the year 2004. What has changed in our access to pain experiences (ours and of others) since then? Is it still true that we cannot have any kind of access to other people’s pain?
This paper is part of a special issue of the journal entirely devoted to ‘pain’ which includes many other contributions spanning from philosophy, biology, psychology, neurology, physiology, ethics, and the law. In this contribution we assess the implications of brain imaging techniques – in particular, functional MRI- to make pain visible, measurable and, to some degree, verifiable, and therefore to serve as a new kind of scientific evidence in the numerous legal claims of chronic pain where the jury has to assess the truthfulness of the claimants.
Read more on this: my post for the Centre for the Humanities & Health blog.
Camporesi S, Bottalico B, Zamboni G. (2011). Can we finally ‘see’ Pain?: Brain imaging techniques and implications for the law. J Consciousness Studies, 18(9-10):257-276.