Expressing Pain: Wittgenstein and the 'Problems of Other Minds'

Richard Hamilton, University of Notre Dame Australia


Neurophenomena such as central sensitisation, hyperalgesia and allodynia, speak of a brain that is anything but hardwired. The brain's ability to self-organise in staggeringly complex ways forces us to look beyond what turn out to be perceptions of a body-mind reference, ie the idea of a mind is more a story than an actuality. There are mounting criticisms of body-mind dualism, (the simplistic perception that pain is either in the body or in the mind), but with poor understanding of what philosophical narrative can replace it. Clearly, our human condition and pain's unique role in it, is much more unpredictable than we had hitherto thought. This unpredictability dictates that we at least attempt to advance the philosophical debate in the interests of the pain sufferer. Richard Hamilton will investigate other roads of pain from Spinoza to Wittgenstein and Merleau-Ponty. Richard, Horst Ruthrof and David Buchanan will look at how the theory of language has long contended its place beyond the body-mind problem.