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Desire and Addiction

Peter Railton, University of Michigan/Ann Arbor

Thursday, April 6, 2017
4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Performing Arts & Humanities Building : 441
Desire is a fundamental part of our lives, but it remains poorly understood in both philosophy and psychology.  Sometimes it is said that desire competes with reason for the control of our actions, and that addiction is something like the limiting case of this phenomenon--a drug-induced desire so strong that it is irresistible.  Yet a growing body of evidence suggests that this is an inaccurate picture of addiction--it does involve a disorder of desire, but it is a disorder of a different kind, a regulative failure internal to desire.  Understanding the nature of this failure gives us insight into why desire is not a competitor to reason, but an essential part of its effective operation.
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