Show Summary Details

p. 273. Pain and the machinelocked

  • Rob Boddice


Mind-body dualism dominated Western medicine from the Enlightenment due, in part, to the philosopher René Descartes (1596–1650) who famously reduced the body’s functioning to mechanics. ‘Pain and the machine’ considers animal experimentation in search of a greater understanding of human pain. The mechanisms designed to test for pain in humans in the early 20th century were strongly associated with the need to measure what constituted physical pain. The McGill Pain Questionnaire, developed in 1971, was the first elaborate medical assessment technique on the quality of a person’s pain experience to put the patient in control, but the linguistic representations of pain affect defy the rigours of tabulation and categorization.

Access to the complete content on Very Short Introductions online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.