08 October 2007

In which Adam experiences a privation of sanity

In an amazing display of how a mistaken theodicy can lead to idiocy, Anglin and Goetz write:
one must distinguish between pain as an evil (a privation of normal consciousness, an inability to enjoy the weather) and pain as an experienced quality (a strong stimulus, an overwhelming sensation). A pain is only an evil insofar as it is privative.

Sounds a bit weird. But let's hear some more...

The privationist must agree that the experienced quality of a pain is not a mere absence of something but this does not commit him to saying that it is a good. Instead he can maintain that it is neither good nor evil but a sort of neutral thing. Of course, the experienced quality of pain always entails a privation of our normal state of consciousness and it often signals a privation of our normal state of bodily well-being. It can result in fear or resentment which are tied up with yet other privations.

Wait for it...........

However, just insofar as it is an experienced quality, pain is not an evil. Indeed, in some cases, the absence of this experienced quality would be an evil. If you cut your finger it would be worse if you did not than if you did feel pain.


Someone please douse me with the distinction between intrinsic and instrumental value to put the fire in my brain out........


*Anglin and Goetz, "Evil is Privation" Int J Phil Rel 13: 3-12 (1982), p.5