Autonomy and addiction
Source TitleCanadian Journal of Philosophy
PublisherROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD
University of Melbourne Author/sLEVY, NEIL
AffiliationPhilosophy, Anthropology And Social Inquiry
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsLevy, N. (2006). Autonomy and addiction. CANADIAN JOURNAL OF PHILOSOPHY, 36 (3), pp.427-447. https://doi.org/10.1353/cjp.2006.0018.
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C1 - Journal Articles Refereed
Whatever its implications for the other features of human agency at its best — for moral responsibility, reasons-responsiveness, self-realization, flourishing, and so on—addiction is universally recognized as impairing autonomy. But philosophers have frequently misunderstood the nature of addiction, and therefore have not adequately explained the manner in which it impairs autonomy. Once we recognize that addiction is not incompatible with choice or volition, it becomes clear that none of the Standard accounts of autonomy can satisfactorily explain the way in which it undermines fully autonomous agency. In order to understand to what extent and in what ways the addicted are autonomy-impaired, we need to understand autonomy as consisting, essentially, in the exercise of the capacity for extended agency. It is because addiction undermines extended agency, so that addicts are not able to integrate their lives and pursue a Single conception of the good, that it impairs autonomy.
KeywordsPhilosophy of Action ; Mental Health; Social Ethics
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