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Ritual Pain: Valuable pain

Why would a person stick a knife through their skin? Well, maybe because it is part of a ritual. A good friend of mine, who happens to be a great cognitive psychologist, and a probably even better MMA fighter, once told me the following anecdote: So, one day, after...

The structure of unpleasantness

Review of Philosophy and Psychology (2020). Link to full pdf. Abstract A fair amount of the philosophical discussion about pain and unpleasantness has focused on providing a constitutive account of unpleasantness. These theories provide a more fundamental description...

Zozobra: somos humanos y nos llaman mexicanos

Link para pdf. Resumen Somos humanos y nos llaman mexicanos. ¿Qué significa ser mexicano, cuál es la particularidad de un mexicano, que nos distingue de los demás? Durante mediados del siglo pasado se discutió qué significaba ser mexicano, qué era ‘lo mexicano’, o si...

Dr. Abraham Sapién

Posdoctoral researcher at Instituto de Investigaciones Filosófica, UNAM.

Philosophy of Suffering.

Phd (2018) from the University of Glasgow and Sorbonne University (Paris IV).

Philosophy of suffering

Reasons to research suffering

In experiential terms, suffering is one of the central axes of sentient beings’ life, including human beings. We all suffer. By ‘suffering’ I mean the set of unpleasant experiences that we might have.  In addition, the set of unpleasant emotions, as well as their intricate complexities, is fundamental to our lives, both at the individual and social levels. Understanding suffering provides us with knowledge about a fundamental and inevitable aspect of our existence.

In philosophical terms, pain and suffering give rise to the analysis of different problems. In recent years an important niche of philosophical research around this topic has emerged. A clear example of this is The Value of Suffering project, in which I had the chance to participate as a doctoral researcher. The study of pain and suffering is an ongoing research area.

Finally, there is a pragmatic reason. It is crucial to understand what pain and suffering are so we can avoid and reduce their unnecessary existence. The medical sciences are primarily responsible for the study of suffering through the study of pain. However, this line of research lacks a holistic, interdisciplinary, and philosophical approach. It is not clear where to direct our efforts on the study of pain and suffering without conceptual clarity. The relevance of the study of suffering as well as its philosophical importance are undeniable.

My current research, Suffering & Self-Modelling, focuses on the philosophy of suffering and pain. My postdoctoral project has two main goals. On the one hand, to offer a theory that accounts for the phenomenology of pain and suffering, in particular their intensity. On the other hand, to propose a theory of social and cultural identity based on emotional and collective suffering.



Article Categories


Pain & Suffering


Mexican Identity


The Value of Suffering