Karl Duncker

The unpleasantness of a toothache and the pleasantness of a beautiful view are not likely to coexist—not so much because the two hedonic tones have opposite signs, but rather because the two underlying experiences or attitudes are incompatible. The pain so “absorbs me” that I cannot give myself over to the view enough really to enjoy it, or, on the other hand, the view may absorb me away from the pain. For two attitudes or absorptions thus to detract from each other, it is not at all necessary that the two hedonic tones be opposite. I have made experiments like the following: while listening to the marche funèbre in Beethoven’s Seventh, I ate a piece of delicious candy and observed whether I could maintain the two enjoyments unimpaired alongside each other. It was impossible.

Karl Duncker, ‘On Pleasure, Emotion, and Striving’, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, vol. 1, no. 4 (June, 1941), p. 409