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Jennifer Corns

College: Graduate Center
Awards: Postdoctoral Research Fellow at University of Glasgow,

Outstanding Student

Jennifer Corns, a December 2011 graduate of the PhD program in philosophy and holder of a 2011-12 Five-College Dissertation Fellowship at Mount Holyoke College, has been serving since February as postdoctoral research fellow with the Pain Project at the University of Glasgow.

Corns received honors for the defense of her dissertation, "Pain Is Not a Natural Kind," that was written under the supervision of Distinguished Professor Jesse Prinz.

"Reading case studies of pain asymbolics was one of the things that piqued my interest," she says. "They seem to experience pain without being bothered by it.

" In her dissertation, bringing philosophical inquiries and contemporary pain research to bear, she argued that while pains exist and are useful for categorizing daily experience, they are not a proper scientific category. Corns has presented papers on the philosophy of mind and language and ethics and has a broad interest in how common, everyday categories - like belief, love, pleasure and humor - are employed for ethical and scientific inquiry.

Author of "When Is a Reason Properly Pragmatic," Consciousness and Cognition (2011), she is preparing a book proposal and articles on pain, bioethics and folk-psychological explanation. The Pain Project, comprising philosophers, neuroscientists and veterinarians from around the world, focuses on the relations between pain, perception and emotion as well as pain in animals. Corns is working with other experts as she continues to develop her own research on pain in hopes of contributing to an improvement in treatment and the alleviation of unnecessary suffering.