32 research outputs found

    Addiction as a Disorder of Self-Control

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    Impairment of self-control is often said to be a defining feature of addiction. Yet many addicts display what appears to be a considerable amount of control over their drug-oriented actions. Not only are their actions clearly intentional and frequently carried out in a conscious and deliberate manner, there is evidence that many addicts are responsive to a wide range of ordinary incentives and counter-incentives. Moreover, addicts have a wide variety of reasons for using drugs, reasons which often seem to go a long way towards explaining their drug-oriented behavior. Many use drugs, for example, to cope with stressful or traumatic experiences. In this article I argue that some standard philosophical explanations of addicts’ impairment of self-control are inadequate, and propose an alternative

    Addiction, compulsion, and weakness of the will: A dual process perspective

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    How should addictive behavior be explained? In terms of neurobiological illness and compulsion, or as a choice made freely, even rationally, in the face of harmful social or psychological circumstances? Some of the disagreement between proponents of the prevailing medical models and choice models in the science of addiction centres on the notion of “loss of control” as a normative characterization of addiction. In this article I examine two of the standard interpretations of loss of control in addiction, one according to which addicts have lost free will, the other according to which their will is weak. I argue that both interpretations are mistaken and propose therefore an alternative based on a dual-process approach. This alternative neither rules out a capacity in addicts to rationally choose to engage in drug-oriented behavior, nor the possibility that addictive behavior can be compulsive and depend upon harmful changes in their brains caused by the regular use of drugs

    Intentions, all-out evaluations and weakness of the will

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    What is self-control?

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    Restrictive consequentialism and real friendship

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    Addiction and autonomy: Why emotional dysregulation in addiction impairs autonomy and why it matters

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    An important philosophical issue in the study of addiction is what difference the fact that a person is addicted makes to attributions of autonomy (and responsibility) to their drug-oriented behavior. In spite of accumulating evidence suggesting the role of emotional dysregulation in understanding addiction, it has received surprisingly little attention in the debate about this issue. I claim that, as a result, an important aspect of the autonomy impairment of many addicted individuals has been largely overlooked. A widely shared assumption in the philosophical literature is that for addiction to impair a person’s autonomy it has to make them (in some sense) take drugs against their will. So-called “willing addicts” are therefore usually seen as exempted from the autonomy impairment believed to characterize “unwilling addicts”, the latter being those who ‘truly want’ to stop using drugs but find their attempts repeatedly derailed by failures of self-control. In this article, I argue that the association between addiction and emotional dysregulation shows why this assumption is false. Emotional dysregulation is not only consistent with the possibility that many addicts take drugs ‘willingly’, it supports the hypothesis that they use drugs because they truly want to. The article proposes an explanation for why emotional dysregulation should nevertheless be seen as an aspect of their loss of control and an important reason why they have impaired autonomy. I end by exploring some implications of this account for addict’s decision-making capacity when they are prescribed the drugs to which they are addicted

    Weakness of Will and Divisions of the Mind

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