Addiction, Desire, and the Polluted Environment | University of Oxford

Addiction, Desire, and the Polluted Environment

Speaker
Professor Richard Holton
Event date
Event time
17:00 - 19:00
Venue
Oxford Martin School
Broad Street
Oxford
Oxfordshire
OX1 3BD
Venue details

Lecture Theatre

Event type
Lectures and seminars
Event cost
Free
Disabled access?
Yes
Booking required
Required

Lecture 2 of 3.

Much recent work on addiction has stressed the importance of cues for the triggering of desire. These cues are frequently social. We have a plausible theory of this triggering at the neurophysiological level. But what are the ethical implications? One concerns the authority of desire: maximizing the satisfaction of desires no longer looks like a obvious goal of social policy once we understand the dependence of desires on cues. A second concerns an addict’s responsibility in the face of cues. I suggest that the provision of cues can be thought of as akin to pollution, for which the polluter may bear the primary responsibility. I spell out some of the political implications and ask whether there are good grounds for extending the argument to the cues involved in obesity.