Do we have free will when it comes to addiction?
Drug addiction has long been thought of as a choice one makes freely. However, recent neuroscience has shown the relationship been addiction and physiology. The dominant trend in neuroscience is now to say that addiction is a "brain disease."It may be interesting for you to read this article before posting: http://www.issues.org/17.3/leshner.htm
Do you think that addiction is a brain disease? if so, do you think there is free will involved, or is it merely a deterministic process, which does not admit free choice?
Side Score: 6
Side Score: 8
MY ARGUMENT FOR AN ELEMENT OF FREE CHOICE IN ADDICTION
Premise 1: Addiction had physiological and psychological components, as well as numerous other components. I agree with DiClemente's definition of addiction, summarized here in three components:
(a) "the development of a solidly established, problematic pattern of an appetitive [...] behavior"
(b) and "physiological and psychological components [...] that create dependence"
(c) and "the interaction of these components [...] that make the behavior resistant to change."
Premise 2: A Person may not choose the physiological aspects of addiction, but (limited) choice is still involved in the other components of addiction.
Obviously we do not choose our physiology or our genetics, but it seems to me that we can still have choice in other aspects of addiction. I think this has been clearly established by neuroscience and psychology. We have (admittedly limited) freedom to choose to initiate drug use, we have the freedom to choose to recover from addiction, and we have the freedom to choose to change aspects of our lives. This is a fundamental tenet of humanistic psychology and psychotherapy--that change is possible.
Premise 3: If a person has limited choice in any matter, then he or she can be said to have free will in regards to that matter To me, this seems clear. The very definition of free will includes the concept that we can make choices.
Conclusion: Therefore, people have free will with regards to addiction.
Please keep in mind that I am not arguing that we are totally free, but that we have a significant measure of limited freedom, which is enough to establish the existence of free will with regards to addiction
ASCERTAINING A PREMISE probably the most difficult thing here, I agree with the tenet that change is possible but it usually is prompted by a big influence in our lives. But as humans we are subject to our own predisposition to think in a certain way and how susceptible we are to these different aspects of psychology so I would say that as everything is subject to at least one condition, it is very unlikely the addict has much power to change and therefore free - will.
Regarding addiction that has progressed far enough...
It's sort of like asking if someone has free will while drowning due to fatigue out in the middle of the ocean. Bottom line...without outside help (intervention) their personal choices won't effect the outcome. I suppose they can freely choose when to stop trying. So yeah there is an element of personal choice right up till the end.
I've heard it put "When you dance with a gorilla, it's the gorilla who decides when to stop."
To be honest, I'm not convinced free will actually exists.
But if it does happen to be real, one of the dominant characteristics of addiction is how how it erodes our freedom of choice in regards to that substance. The worse the addiction, the less often the addict can "choose" to say no.