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Dr Abraham Sapien

Dr Abraham SapienPostdoctoral Researcher, National Autonomous University of Mexico
For my bachelor’s studies, I graduated with honours in Philosophy at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). Another significant part of my education was not in Mexico. I did my master’s degree in Cognitive Sciences at the École Normale Superieure (ENS), in France. I graduated with the thesis ‘Masochism: on how to like pain’, where I proposed a cognitive model of pain modulation.


Upon finishing my master's degree, I was accepted into a doctoral program at both Sorbonne University and at the University of Glasgow. In 2018 each of these universities granted me the title of Doctor in Philosophy. My thesis, ‘The unpleasantness of pain’, focused on the phenomenology of unpleasantness, with an emphasis on pain.


During my PhD, I was part of the research group The Value of Suffering (2013-16), based in Glasgow. I developed my doctoral thesis and co-organized three international conferences and six workshops on pain and suffering. These events took place in various countries: Scotland, France, Germany, and Australia.


In 2018, I started working at the National Pedagogical University (UPN), in Mexico City, as a full-time associate professor (Profesor Titular-C). I taught at bachelor and master's level, in education studies, psychology, and pedagogy. I was also responsible for the House of Culture of this institution and the principal investigator of the project ‘The value of suffering: how we learn who we are’.


I am currently a postdoctoral researcher at the Instituto de Investigaciones Filosóficas (IIF), at UNAM, with the project ‘Suffering & Self-modelling’.

Research and Teaching Interests

My research focuses on the experience of pain and suffering. I have explored this subject from the philosophy of the mind and from cognitive sciences.


My postdoctoral project, ‘Suffering & Self-modelling’, has two main goals. On the one hand, to offer a theory that accounts for the phenomenology of pain and suffering, in particular their intensity. On the other hand, to propose a theory of social and cultural identity based on emotional and collective suffering.