Understanding our ordinary thought and talk about chronic pain

8 November 2018 - 12:30-14:00

Lecture: Emma Borg, University of Reading

Classroom 6, Hodgkin Building, Guy’s Campus – please note the unusual time.

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Video Recording


Please note that any external attendees, i.e. those not currently holding a valid King’s ID card, will need to send their names to Harriet Fagerberg (harriet.fagerberg@kcl.ac.uk) prior to the 6th of November, so that she can notify King’s Estate Security.



Pain has a long history of study, from both the philosophical and the scientific perspectives, yet the question of what pain is, and how we conceive of and communicate about it, remains vexed. In this talk, we introduce a new approach to understanding our ordinary thought and talk about (chronic) pain – the so-called ‘polyeidic’ approach – whereby pain thinking is held to involve tacit stances on a number of distinct pain dimensions. We argue briefly that this approach is supported by experimental findings in philosophy and then turn to consider the clinical relevance of the view, suggesting that it provides a better understanding of chronic pain patients and the treatments from which they may benefit.