Suffering’s Role and Value Conference, University of Glasgow, 4th-6th July 2015

The Value of Suffering Project is pleased to issue a call for registration for an interdisciplinary conference on Suffering’s Role and Value.

What is suffering’s role and value? Physical suffering motivates injury avoidance; but empirical results continue to suggest many other, neglected roles that suffering plays. Hence we will ask: How does suffering bear on attention, memory, deliberation, problem-solving, and social cooperation? And how does recent research into hedonics illuminate suffering’s pedagogical role?

Turning to emotions, the evidence of its neural overlap with pain is burgeoning, emotional suffering surely plays distinctive roles too, e.g. in moral knowledge and virtuous behaviour. Emotions can be appropriate and inappropriate and inappropriate to the circumstances; so might it even be that emotional suffering is sometimes intrinsically valuable? 

Finally, what can we learn about the role of suffering from its putative opposite: pleasure? And how do our results illuminate the value of affective experience in general? 

The day will be organized around the research of the following presenters:

  • David Bain (Philosophy, University of Glasgow): “Action, desire, and the simplicity of pain behaviour”
  • Michael Brady (Philosophy, University of Glasgow): “Emotional and physical suffering: a virtue-ethical perspective”
  • Jennifer Corns (Philosophy, University of Glasgow): “Hedonic adverbialism”
  • Frederique de Vignemont (Philosophy, Institut Jean-Nicod): “Drawing the boundaries of one’s body: the role of pain”
  • Richard Gray (Philosophy, Cardiff University): “The role of pain”
  • Colin Leach (Social Psychology, University of Connecticut): “The value of others’ suffering: Schadenfreude & its sisters”
  • Kevin Reuter (Philosophy, University of Bochum): “The content and structure of affective concepts”
  • Timothy Schroeder (Philosophy, Ohio State University): “Perceiving things as worse”
  • Tasia Scrutton (Theology and Religious Studies, University of Leeds): “Themes in depression recovery narrative”
  • Fabrice Teroni (Philosophy, University of Bern): “All the right reasons to suffer”

Discussants at large include: Fiona Macpherson, Myrto Mylopoulos, Paul Noordhof, and Carolyn Price.

The conference is funded by the John Templeton Foundation and is part of the larger project: The Value of Suffering: An Interdisciplinary Investigation of the Nature, Meaning, and Role of Affective Experiences.

The Value of Suffering Project is an international, interdisciplinary research project headed by principal investigators David Bain and Michael Brady, the aim of which is to foster multidisciplinary exploration of the roles that affective experiences—suffering in particular—play in our lives.

For more information, please visit our website. Registration is £15 for student and £30 for staff, and includes tea and coffee. To register or for further inquiries please email Jennifer Corns.

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