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Addiction and Choice – Rethinking the relationship - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Addiction and Choice: Rethinking the relationship

Nick Heather and Gabriel Segal


The central problem in the study of addiction is to explain why people repeatedly behave in ways they know are bad for them. For much of the previous century and until the present day, the majority of scientific and medical attempts to solve this problem were couched in terms of involuntary behavior; if people behave in ways they do not want, then this must be because the behavior is beyond their control and outside the realm of choice. An opposing tradition, which finds current support among scientists and scholars as well as members of the general public, is that so-called addictive behavior ... More

Keywords: addiction, involuntary behavior, philosophy, neuroscience, psychiatry, psychology, choice, theory, practice

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2016 Print ISBN-13: 9780198727224
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2016 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198727224.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Nick Heather, editor
Emeritus Professor of Alcohol & Other Drug Studies, Northumbria University

Gabriel Segal, editor
Professor of Philosophy, King's College, London

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Section I Introduction

Section II Philosophical foundations

Chapter 3 Addiction

Bennett Foddy

Chapter 6 Normal and addictive desires

Patrick Butlin, David Papineau

Section III Perspectives from neuroscience

Chapter 9 Compulsion and choice in addiction

Richard Holton, Kent Berridge

Chapter 11 Assessing drug choice in human addiction

Scott J. Moeller, Rita Z. Goldstein

Section IV Perspectives from behavioral economics and cognitive psychology

Chapter 16 Self-regulation, controlled processes, and the treatment of addiction

Andrew J. Vonasch, Heather M. Maranges, Roy F. Baumeister

Section V Implications for treatment, prevention, and public health

Section VI Implications for the public understanding of addiction and for legal responsibility for addictive behaviour

Section VII Conclusions

End Matter