The Value of Suffering: An Interdisciplinary Investigation of the Nature, Meaning, and Role of Affective Experience
Is suffering good? Encompassing both physical pain and emotions such as grief and disappointment, suffering is almost universally considered bad. But it also has value. Hence the Value of Suffering project aims to illuminate the complex and frequently neglected ways in which suffering is also good.
The project focuses on suffering’s role, its place in our rational lives, and its conscious phenomenology. It aims to illuminate the value not only of suffering, but of affective experiences generally—experiences, that is, which feel good or bad.
Led by PIs David Bain and Michael Brady, the project involves a postdoctoral fellow, a PhD student, and an international, multidisciplinary team, with expertise in neuroscience, psychology, clinical practice, philosophy of mind, value theory, and philosophy of religion. It will host six workshops and three major international conferences. Building on interdisciplinary engagement at our workshops, team members and other experts will produce research papers on our core questions for dissemination at our conferences and in our edited collections. Reaching beyond the academy, we will also give public lectures, write popular articles, and maintain a project website featuring an interactive blog.
We aim to enhance the profile and understanding of suffering and affective consciousness—this crucial, neglected dimension of human experience—within and beyond the academy, not only during the project but long after its completion.
Funded by: John Templeton Foundation