Lexicon of Arguments

Philosophical and Scientific Issues in Dispute

Complaints - Corrections

Sc. Camps
Theses I
Theses II


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Cavell I 37
Norman Malcolm: Thesis: Attempt to reject the idea of a private pain, according to which it is impossible for two people to have the same pain.
Malcolm: Let us first agree that "equal" here means equality of description, and not "equality of place", so we see that it is very possible to share the same pain.
CavellVsMalcolm: the argument is questionable, the skeptic can rightly assume here that our knowledge of the other is not enough.
Knowledge is more than the presence of criteria.
Cavell I 45
Pain/Numerical Identity/Qualitative Identity/Malcolm: Malcolm disputes the fact that one can reasonably say in (descriptive) identical painful occurrences that it is two. Thesis: with regard to sensory impressions, the concept of "numerical identity" has no application.
Malcolm: if the description is the same, there cannot be the additional question whether the idea would also be the same!
E.g. Cavell: one can say our "twin cars" do not differ, yet there are two.
Why not in pain then? Because "equals" here means "descriptively equal"? Obviously not!
I 46
Why should the skeptics not have the feeling that here it is presupposed what is still to be examined?
For example, in cars, the question is answered: there are two, in the case of colors the question is also answered: it is one! But in pain?

Pain/Malcolm: Danger to think it is here as in the colors, styles, opinions or sudden ideas.
It is a truism that there can be the same shades of color at the same time in many places.

Pain/CavellVsMalcolm: this seems to show that colors are different from headaches.
But I can answer the question whether the pain is numerically identical with its: namely, they are not identical!

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