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Addiction and ChoiceRethinking the relationship$
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Nick Heather and Gabriel Segal

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198727224

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198727224.001.0001

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Ambiguous terms and false dichotomies

Ambiguous terms and false dichotomies

(p.449) Chapter 24 Ambiguous terms and false dichotomies
Addiction and Choice

Gabriel Segal

Oxford University Press

Different people mean different things by the key terms that feature in debates about addiction. The terms in question include “addiction,” “compulsion,” “disease,” “brain,” and “hijack.” Terminological differences have been mistaken for disagreements over matters of substance. This chapter analyses and discusses some of the different interpretations of the key terms, and the logical structure of debates in which they feature. Ultimately, however, the basic affliction of most actual addicts is a neutrally based malfunctioning of choice-making systems that has the potential to cause great distress, and this can necessitate the same contingencies in public spending and health care irrespective of whether this falls into a generally agreed definition of disease.

Keywords:   addiction, compulsion, disease, hijack, brain

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