How come pain is in the hand, an arm distance away, but the pain processing is in the brain? I don't feel my hand in the brain, I feel it at 40cms away from my eyes, on the keyboard.

Let’s start with a different case. When you see a mountain, you see an object miles away, even though the visual experience is in your brain. The mountain doesn’t have to go into your brain (thank goodness) in order for you to see it, because the brain can represent the external object.The case of the pain in your hand is not exactly the same, but here too it seems that one thing (in your head) is representing another thing (in your hand).

Perhaps it is stranger to suppose that we represent something outside our head as having pain that that we represent something outside our head as having the shape of a mountain, but something like that seems to be what is going on. And this may seem less strange in light of the fact that we know anyway that we have the power to represent things that aren’t actually there, for example in a case of hallucination. So the fact that the pain isn’t actually in our hand does not mean we can’t perceive it as being in our hand.I don’t want to sound complacent.

The source of the ability of the mind to form representations of things as being outside the mind is one of the great mysteries of philosophy. But granted that we have that ability, the fact that we perceive some pains as being in particular parts of our bodies may not pose a huge additional mystery.

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