Pain, placebo, and cognitive penetration
Shevlin H., Friesen P.
© 2020 The Authors. Mind & Language published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. There is compelling evidence that pain experience is influenced by cognitive states. We explore one specific form of such influence, namely placebo analgesia, and examine its relevance for the cognitive penetration debate in philosophy of mind. We single out as important a form of influence on experience that we term radical cognitive penetration, and argue that some cases of placebo analgesia constitute compelling instances of this phenomenon. Still, we urge caution in extrapolating from this to broader conclusions about cognitive penetration in perceptual experience. Instead, we suggest that the cognitive penetration of pain raises distinctive psychological, epistemological, and ethical issues.