- Ethical Significance
Policy implication -- If addicts are compelled to take drugs, then the drugs should be illegal.
Rehabilitation - Should rehab be obligatory, what kinds are effective.
Moral Implications -Are addicts responsible for their actions
Autonomy Implications - can they act autonomously with their drug of choice, do they deserve the principle of respect.
Motivation - does it tell us something about how we make decision, is it relevant to how we select our moral theories.Addicts
say they wish to a stain, but they fail to do so. Is this a problem with motivation?
Autonomy -Ability to live the life one selects for oneself.
Traditional or Relational?
Procedural or Substantive?
Procedural is content neutral. An autonomous person may select any values. What matters is the process by which they make
Addiction - key concepts
Disease - picks out distinction between normal and abnormal function between a brain, body, limb, etc. Is addiction a disease
Drug - Is it a substance causing effect? Vague because food and oxygen cause effect too. Chemical substance designed for
treatment. Like nicotine. Is it controlled by law unlike caffeine.
• There is no standard accepted account
• We all kind of have an idea of what it is, a term we are familiar with and can employ.
• Drug dependance is a brain disease indicated by the presence of at least 3 of 7 patterns. Going to fast to copy them.
Maybe it is a Physiological disease?
-Addiction is a brain state or function caused by an adaption from drug use
Maybe it is a literal compulsion
-Addiction is a uncontrollable compulsion to seek and use drugs that the individual is obsessed with getting and using the drug.
- They are volitionally impaired.
- In this model users are not responsible for their action
Compulsion: If you were picked up by last 6 mr. olympiad. You had no choice
A) Bypasses the will?
What is addiction? Willpower Problem
-Addiction is a failure of self-control
-Addicts suffer from an impairment of their decision making process, even if it is not literal compulsion
AA/NA -Addict has allergy to drug or illness of self such that the addict is powerless
- The addict is a corrupt and irrational person
- Prefers pleasure over all else and is reckless and irresponsible
- Relies on assumption we ought to act prudently all the time?
Other key Questions
- Illegal substances
- TV, video games, behaviour?
How does addiction fit with our moral theories?
Liberal Theory of Addiction - Intro
Problems defining addiction come form a normative bias
- We assume addiction is abnormal
- Do we have warrant for this assumption
Debunking the Disease view
Disease view- addiction is a function of abnormal brain adaptations. Guy thinks this is problematic
Framing Bias - You must make implicit assumption that addictive behaviours are abnormal.
P1)Addictive drugs work by eliciting the excitation of dopamine receptors….the process is different with every drug but the
result is the same
P2) When the brains reward system is activated the neural pathways that are active are strengthen and the person is more likely
to repeat the rewarding behaviour. Drugs cause our brain to change, we like this due to the dopamine release.
P3)All pleasure seeking behaviours do this. They are biologically and behaviourally very similar, same stimulation. The only
fundamental difference is heroin has no intermediate step, but they both trigger dopamine release.
C4) The distinction between addictive and non addictive behaviour cannot be based on the disease model of abnormal brain
function, because we do this all the time.
Either -All pleasure seeking behaviours are abnormal or non are and such brain adaptations are within the norm operation of
Debunking the Disease View Moral Bias
- Disease view might also mean that addictive behaviours are abnormal in the sense of irrational or imprudent
- Does this normal/abnormal distinction hold up?
-Appeal to autonomy to Support distinction.
- One a substantive model of autonomy:
1) The autonomous person will always do what is most rational/most prudent
2)Addictive behaviour is only non autonomous because it is a failure to do what we have most reason to do.
But 3) we often do things that aren’t rationally ideal or prudent
E.x. - Mountain climbing, binge shopping, etc.
Therefore, 4) its not clear how addiction is especially irrational and this abnormal.
- Either we act abnormally all the time, or addiction isn’t abnormal.
Also, substantive definitions can be oppressive: The fact that we can’t understand why someone wold choose X doesn’t mean they can’t have rational reason to choose X.
If we employ a procedural account of autonomy to uphold normal/abnormal
- When addicts use they do so regretfully, i.e. knowing that it doesn’t reflect their own autonomous decisions.
Addiction is a weakness of will/incontinence
Donald Davidson “In doing B an agent acts incontinently if an only if: (a) the agent does B intentionally; (b) the agent believe
there is an alternative actionAopen to him; and © the agent judges that, all things considered, it would be better to do Athan to
1) We don’t tend to say that everyday weakness of will is abnormal
2) There is no principled distinction between weakness of will and addiction on the procedural model.
3) So ther