The Experience of Dysmenorrhea


Dysmenorrhea, or menstrual pain, is regularly suffered by 45 to 95% of menstruating women. Despite its prevalence, and despite the philosophical importance of pain as a general phenomenon, dysmenorrhea has been all but completely overlooked in contemporary analytic philosophy of mind. This paper aims at rectifying this situation. We single out three properties of what is often considered the paradigmatic case of painful experience, what we call injury-centered pains, and argue that dysmenorrhea does not have any of them, and hence that it does not neatly conform to the injury-centered model of pain. This calls into question the centrality of the injury-centered model, and suggests novel research avenues within theoretical debates on affectivity.

Forthcoming in Synthese