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Unformatted text preview: Sheet1 Page 1 A Liberal Account of Addiction Bennett Foddy Julian Savulescu Philosophy, Psychiatry, & Psychology, Volume 17, Number 1, March 2010, pp. 1-22 (Article) Published by The Johns Hopkins University Press DOI: 10.1353/ppp.0.0282 For additional information about this article http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/ppp/summary/v017/17.1.foddy.html Access Provided by Scarsdale High School at 10/29/10 5:44AM GMT A A Liberal Account of Addiction Abstract: Philosophers and psychologists have been attracted to two differing accounts of addictive motivation. In this paper, we investigate these two accounts and challenge their mutual claim that addictions compromise a persong s self-control. First, we identify some incompatibilities between this claim of reduced self-control and the available evidence from various disciplines. A critical assessment of the evidence weakens the empirical argument for reduced autonomy. Second, we identify sources of unwarranted normative bias in the popular theories of addiction that introduce systematic errors in interpreting the evidence. By eliminating these errors, we are able to generate a minimal, but correct account, of addiction that presumes addicts to be autonomous in their addictive behavior, absent further evidence to the contrary. Finally, we explore some of the implications of this minimal, correct view. Keywords: addiction, autonomy, self-control, neuroethics, dependence, liberty What Is Addiction? The Two Major Positions And above all, we must reduce drug use for one great moral reason: Over time, drugs rob men, women, and children of their dignity, and of their Sheet1 Page 2 character. Illegal drugs are the enemies of ambition and hope. And when we fight against drugs, we fight for the souls of our fellow Americans. (The White House, 2001) A A great deal of effort and resources have been put into the study of the problem of addiction: The ostensible cause of the drug © 2010 by The Johns Hopkins University Press Bennett Foddy and Julian Savulescu problem which faces every society in the world to some extent. But drug addiction is not just a problem of public health. It is a source of moral outrage, it is a crime in many places, and it is an entity against which governments feel they must wage & war.H We argue that the generally understood meaning of the term “ addiction& is scientifically and philosophically flawed. The concept of & addictionm is built around a range of unsupported prejudices that severely restrict our understanding of drug use, of pleasure-oriented behavior, and of the ways in which we maintain control over those behaviors. Research from the biological and social sciences has tended to characterize addictive behaviors in two different ways: As the symptoms of a disease and as a failure of self-control....
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