The intertwining of addiction and responsibility in personal, philosophical, legal, research, and clinical contexts.
Addictive behavior threatens not just the addict's happiness and health but also the welfare and well-being of others. It represents a loss of self-control and a variety of other cognitive impairments and behavioral deficits. An addict may say, "I couldn't help myself." But questions arise: are we responsible for our addictions? And what responsibilities do others have to help us? This volume offers a range of perspectives on addiction and responsibility and how the two are bound together. Distinguished contributors—from theorists to clinicians, from neuroscientists and psychologists to philosophers and legal scholars—discuss these questions in essays using a variety of conceptual and investigative tools.
Some contributors offer models of addiction-related phenomena, including theories of incentive sensitization, ego-depletion, and pathological affect; others address such traditional philosophical questions as free will and agency, mind-body, and other minds. Two essays, written by scholars who were themselves addicts, attempt to integrate first-person phenomenological accounts with the third-person perspective of the sciences. Contributors distinguish among moral responsibility, legal responsibility, and the ethical responsibility of clinicians and researchers. Taken together, the essays offer a forceful argument that we cannot fully understand addiction if we do not also understand responsibility.
About the authors
Jeffrey Poland is Visiting Professor of Science and Technology Studies at Brown University and a Senior Lecturer in History, Philosophy, and Social Science at Rhode Island School of Design. He is the coeditor of Addiction and Responsibility (MIT Press).
George Graham is a Professor of Philosophy and Neuroscience at Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia.