A panel sponsored by Epistémè (Research Group on Early Modern England, Paris) during the RSA 2015 conference.
The aim of this panel is to explore the links between physical pain and philosophical theories in the early modern period. Two main issues will be addressed in this session:
1. we will discuss the medical and philosophical theories that were elaborated to account for physical pain at the time: what could be the cause of physical pain and how could it be explained physiologically? Was there a clear distinction between physical pain and emotional suffering? Was pain gendered? We will also focus on the value of pain: was it always seen as negative or could it also be good?
2. investigating the value of suffering might also lead us to wonder about the role of pain in the elaboration of one’s philosophical thought: to what extent could the personal experience of pain have an influence on the subjects an author chose to deal with or on their philosophical thought? Although it might be explicitly stated in philosophical works, the influence of pain on the philosophy of an author is more often found in correspondences and diaries. Intense or chronic physical pain could give an author a particular perception of life and things, or it could lead to the adoption or elaboration of a philosophy that gave hope and made pain more bearable.
Please send your proposal (a 150-word abstract and a title), as well as a one-page CV and a list of keywords to Sandrine Parageau (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Yan Brailowsky (email@example.com) by June 8th.