Special Topics in Value Theory (PHIL496/596)
Addiction, Self-Control, and Responsibility
Wednesdays · 5:30pm–8:15pm · synchronous online
Understanding what addiction is and how it might impact responsible behavior is a philosophical puzzle with considerable practical implications. This course is an advanced introduction to the philosophical study of addiction. Some of the primary questions we will address include: What is addiction? How might addiction compromise control? Is addiction always harmful? Is addiction a disease? Are addicted individuals fully responsible for their drug use? As we answer these questions, we will look at theoretical debates across many areas of philosophical inquiry that attempt to better understand the nature of psychological conditions, disease, human motivation, self-control, and excuse for blameworthiness. Our readings will focus on the work of contemporary philosophers like Hanna Pickard, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Jeannette Kennette, David Brink, Richard Holton, Chandra Sripada, Gary Watson, and R. J. Wallace. We will also look at the work of behavioral theorists, like George Ainslie and Gene Heyman, and research scientists, like Marc Lewis, Nora Volkow, and Carl Hart. Students should be prepared to engage in careful reading, regular writing assignments, and structured discussion.