Suffering is a central component of our lives. We suffer pain. We fall ill. We fail and are failed. Our loved ones die. It is a commonplace to think that suffering is, always and everywhere, bad. But might suffering also be good? If so, in what ways might suffering have positive, as well as negative, value?

This important volume examines these questions and is the first comprehensive examination of suffering from a philosophical perspective. An outstanding roster of international contributors explore the nature of suffering, pain, and valence, as well as the value of suffering and the relationships between suffering, morality, and rationality.

Philosophy of Suffering: Metaphysics, Value, and Normativity is essential reading for students and researchers in philosophy of mind, philosophy of psychology, cognitive and behavioral psychology as well as those in health and medicine researching conceptual issues regarding suffering and pain.

chapter |16 pages


part I|2 pages

The nature of suffering

chapter 1|18 pages

The world according to suffering

chapter 2|18 pages

The disruption model of suffering

chapter 4|27 pages

Suffering pains

part II|2 pages

Pain and valence

chapter 6|22 pages

Pain and mere tastes

Toward an attitudinal-representational theory of valenced perceptual experiences

chapter 7|18 pages


An attitude with two heads

part III|2 pages

The value of suffering

chapter 9|14 pages

After motivational hedonism

Feeling bad can be good | feeling good can be bad

chapter 10|17 pages

From suffering to satisfaction

Why we need pain to feel pleasure

chapter 11|16 pages

‘My horses and hogs and even everybody seemed changed’

Appreciating beauty in depression recovery

part IV|2 pages

The normativity of suffering

chapter 12|22 pages

Hedonic rationality

chapter 13|27 pages

The agony of reason

The unsteady bond between suffering and human rationality

chapter 15|15 pages

Suffering as a virtue