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Title: Het subject van het lijden
Author(s): BERNET, Rudolf
Journal: Tijdschrift voor Filosofie
Volume: 75    Issue: 4   Date: 2013   
Pages: 697-720
DOI: 10.2143/TVF.75.4.3007377

Abstract :
What does it mean to be in pain and to express pain? Is there a difference between experiencing pain and experiencing suffering? How do human subjects relate to and comport themselves towards their feelings of pain and suffering? How can and should human subjects relate to and comport themselves towards the suffering of other people? This article suggests that the traditional (Cartesian) conception of an egological subject that reflects on its own suffering as a cogitatum is not only philosophically problematic, but that it easily leads to behavior in which the pathos of suffering is denied. The conception of the suffering subject should not be imposed upon, but rather derived from a phenomenological description of the experiences and expressions of pain and suffering, passion and compassion. Taking into account that the experience of human suffering is both passive and active and that any activity of the subject presupposes a relation to the pain that it passively endures, it becomes increasingly clear that this relation cannot be a matter of a distanced, unaffected attitude or position. Similarly, compassion for somebody else’s suffering cannot mean that my feeling for the other is conditioned by my representation of his or her pain.

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