Addiction and Responsibility


Addictive behavior threatens not just the addict's happiness and health but also the welfare and well-being of others. It represents a loss of self-control and a variety of other cognitive impairments and behavioral deficits. An addict may say, "I couldn’t help myself." But questions arise: are we responsible for our addictions? And what responsibilities do others have to help us? This volume offers a range of perspectives on addiction and responsibility and how the two are bound together. Distinguished contributors—from theorists to clinicians, from neuroscientists and psychologists to philosophers and legal scholars—discuss these questions in essays using a variety of conceptual and investigative tools.

Some contributors offer models of addiction-related phenomena, including theories of incentive sensitization, ego-depletion, and pathological affect; others address such traditional philosophical questions as free will and agency, mind-body, and other minds. Two essays, written by scholars who were themselves addicts, attempt to integrate first-person phenomenological accounts with the third-person perspective of the sciences. Contributors distinguish among moral responsibility, legal responsibility, and the ethical responsibility of clinicians and researchers. Taken together, the essays offer a forceful argument that we cannot fully understand addiction if we do not also understand responsibility.

Table of Contents

  1. Series Foreword
  2. Preface
  3. 1. Introduction: The Makings of a Responsible Addict

    Jeffrey Poland and George Graham

  4. 2. Drug Addiction as Incentive Sensitization

    Kent C. Berridge and Terry E. Robinson

  5. 3. Free Will as Recursive Self-Prediction: Does a Deterministic Mechanism Reduce Responsibility?

    George Ainslie

  6. 4. Addiction, Responsibility, and Ego Depletion

    Neil Levy

  7. 5. Lowering the Bar for Addicts

    Gideon Yaffe

  8. 6. Decision-Making Capacity and Responsibility in Addiction

    Louis C. Charland

  9. 7. Addiction and Criminal Responsibility

    Stephen J. Morse

  10. 8. Grounding for Understanding Self-Injury as Addiction or (Bad) Habit

    Nancy Nyquist Potter

  11. 9. Contingency Management Treatments of Drug and Alcohol Use Disorders

    Nancy M. Petry, Sheila M. Alessi, and Carla J. Rash

  12. 10. Addiction, Paradox, and the Good I Would

    Richard Garrett

  13. 11. What Is It Like to Be an Addict?

    Owen Flanagan

  14. About the Authors
  15. Index