PHIL 420 - Studies in Ethics - "Addiction"

Course description:

Addiction contributes to tens of thousands of deaths every year, and is the source of many personal and public health challenges. These challenges arise in part because addiction is so hard to understand and to address. This course will explore several philosophical debates about the nature of addiction, from several different areas of philosophy. Central to many of these debates are questions about the nature or status of addiction: is it a disease? If so, is it a brain disease? Does it always involve compulsion, and does this matter? Does addiction undermine responsibility? And finally, how should the answers to of these questions affect public policy? 

Course assessments:

Will include short analysis papers, a term paper, and class presentations.    

Potential readings include:

  • Hannah Pickard, ‘Responsibility without blame for addiction,’ Neuroethics (2017)
  • Jeffrey Poland and George Graham (eds.), Addiction and Responsibility. MIT Press  (2011)
  • Edmund Hendon et al. ‘Addiction: choice or compulsion?’ Frontiers in Psychiatry (2013)
  • Neil Levy (ed). Addiction and Self-Control: Perspectives from Philosophy, Psychology, and Neuroscience. Oxford (2013)