The Philosophy of Addiction

Pursue the philosophical foundations of addiction in a series hosted by John T. Maier, psychotherapist and philosopher.

Addiction raises profound philosophical issues: what is addiction, and what does it tell us about the nature of disease, desire, and freedom? This salon series explores the philosophy of addiction through a series of readings and discussions.

Meets bi-weekly on Tuesdays at 7 PM US Eastern time.

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In addition to series tickets, you will get access to our community Discord (with a channel for this series to chat between events)—as well as free salon tickets each month, discounts, free members-only events, and more.

March 19, 2024Addiction and Agency

We think of ourselves as free agents, choosing our acts, values, and lives. Does the possibility of addiction threaten this self-conception? Or is addiction itself a manifestation of our freedom?
April 2, 2024Addiction and Medicine

On an influential view, addiction is a kind of disease. Is this view true? Is addiction best treated through medicine and specifically through psychiatry? What does it mean to treat addiction as a defect or pathology?
April 16, 2024Addiction and Trauma

Many psychologists think of addiction in terms of “self-medication,” as the treatment for an underlying disorder. Others think of it as a “trauma response.” What do these ways of conceiving of addiction tell us about the nature of mental disorder and its etiology?
April 30, 2024Addiction and Disability

In the law, addiction is understood as a kind of disability. This view gives us an alternative picture of how to think about addiction (which I defend in a forthcoming book). How should we think about addiction treatment if we conceive of addiction as a disability?
May 14, 2024The Philosophy of Behavioral Addiction

It seems that people may be addicted not only to drugs like alcohol and opiates, but also to behaviors such as gambling, sex, and video games. Are there behavioral addictions, and how do they compare to addictions to substances. May any activity (exercise, work, meditation) be the object of an addiction?

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Header image: Mattheus van Helmont, Scene in a Tavern. In public domain via Wikipedia Commons.