Bioethics Colloquium with Richard Holton 'Addiction Between Compulsion and Choice'
Professor and Chair, Department of Linguistics and Philosophy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
RSVP required - Reception to follow.
Much of the discussion of addiction is polarized between those who see it as an uncontrollable disease, and those who see it as involving ordinary choice. We aim to take a middle course. The incentive salience model, which sees addiction as involving the formation of intrinsic desires for drugs that are independent of liking and other cognitive states, is well supported. But that does not mean that addictive behaviour is uncontrolled, since there is still a step from the desire to action; and this is where self-control can be deployed. The primary issue is not that addictive behaviour is compulsive, but that it is very hard to control.