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Addiction and voluntary control 

Addiction and voluntary control
Chapter:
Addiction and voluntary control
Author(s):

Lubomira Radoilska

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199641963.003.0001
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date: 16 June 2019

This chapter critically explores the implications that understanding responsibility in terms of voluntary control has for conceptualising agency in the context of addiction. I argue that this volitional conception – although supported by a strong intuition, according to which it is unfair to hold a person responsible for things that are not up to her – is unsatisfactory in general and ultimately misleading with respect to addiction. In particular, I identify and explore a disparity between actions and attitudes as objects of moral appraisal that this conception entails. I then argue that this disparity undermines the volitional account of addiction as paradigm case of diminished responsibility. Finally, I show how this difficulty also applies to voluntary actions and omissions that should be fully responsible on the volitional view, and relate this upshot to this view’s exclusive focus on negative at the expense of positive moral appraisal.

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