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Addictions and compulsions pose, most centrally, the question of how we ought to understand our actions when they are, by common understanding, not entirely free. On the one hand, are the compelled and addicts forced to act? If so, do they force themselves, or are they forced by their psychology, or by their neurobiology? Each of these possible explanations are problematic. How do we force ourselves? Why is part of our psychology independent of "us"? What relationship is there between neurological explanations and psychological explanations? On the other hand, if the compelled and addicts are not forced to act, what accounts for their consistently bad and even self-defeating actions and for their regularly violating their own resolutions to change their actions? Such attempts to explain addiction and compulsion also shed light on ordinary actions and action explanations and on what it means for actions to be free.

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  1. A Unified Framework for Addiction: Vulnerabilities in the Decision Process.Adam Johnson A. David Redish, Steve Jensen - 2008 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 31 (4):415.
    The understanding of decision-making systems has come together in recent years to form a unified theory of decision-making in the mammalian brain as arising from multiple, interacting systems (a planning system, a habit system, and a situation-recognition system). This unified decision-making system has multiple potential access points through which it can be driven to make maladaptive choices, particularly choices that entail seeking of certain drugs or behaviors. We identify 10 key vulnerabilities in the system: (1) moving away from homeostasis, (2) (...)
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  2. The Origin of Addictions by Means of Unnatural Decision.Serge H. Ahmed - 2008 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 31 (4):437-438.
    The unified framework for addiction (UFA) formulated by Redish et al. is a tour de force. It uniquely predicts that there should be multiple addiction syndromes and pathways – a diversity that would reflect the complexity of the mammalian brain decision system. Here I explore some of the evolutionary and developmental ramifications of UFA and derive several new avenues for research.
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  3. A Research-Based Theory of Addictive Motivation.G. Ainslie - 2000 - Law and Philosophy 19 (1):77-115.
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  4. Grasping the Impalpable: The Role of Endogenous Reward in Choices, Including Process Addictions.George Ainslie - 2013 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 56 (5):446 - 469.
    ABSTRACT The list of proposed addictions has recently grown to include television, videogames, shopping, day trading, kleptomania, and use of the Internet. These activities share with a more established entry, gambling, the property that they require no delivery of a biological stimulus that might be thought to unlock a hardwired brain process. I propose a framework for analyzing that class of incentives that do not depend on the prediction of physically privileged environmental events: people have a great capacity to coin (...)
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  5. Vulnerabilities to Addiction Must Have Their Impact Through the Common Currency of Discounted Reward.George Ainslie - 2008 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 31 (4):438-439.
    The ten vulnerabilities discussed in the target article vary in their likelihood of producing temporary preference for addictive activities automatic” habits discussed here.
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  6. Breakdown of Will.George Ainslie - 2001 - Cambridge University Press.
    Ainslie argues that our responses to the threat of our own inconsistency determine the basic fabric of human culture. He suggests that individuals are more like populations of bargaining agents than like the hierarchical command structures envisaged by cognitive psychologists. The forces that create and constrain these populations help us understand so much that is puzzling in human action and interaction: from addictions and other self-defeating behaviors to the experience of willfulness, from pathological over-control and self-deception to subtler forms of (...)
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  7. How Do People Choose Between Local and Global Bookkeeping?George Ainslie - 1996 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 19 (4):574-575.
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  8. Matching is the Integrating Framework.George Ainslie - 1988 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 11 (4):679.
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  9. Intention Isn't Indivisible.George Ainslie & Barbara Gault - 1997 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 20 (2):365-366.
    An intertemporal bargaining model of commitment does not entail the interaction of parts within the person as Rachlin claims, and is needed to explain properties of self-control that his molar generalization model does not predict.
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  10. Drugs' Rapid Payoffs Distort Evaluation of Their Instrumental Uses1.George Ainslie, Christian P. Müller & Gunter Schumann - 2011 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 34 (6):311.
    Science has needed a dispassionate valuation of psychoactive drugs, but a motivational analysis should be conducted with respect to long-term reward rather than reproductive fitness. Because of hyperbolic overvaluation of short-term rewards, an individual's valuation depends on the time she forms it and the times she will revisit it, sometimes making her best long-term interest lie in total abstinence.
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  11. High Culture: Reflections on Addiction and Modernity.Anna Alexander & Mark S. Roberts (eds.) - 2002 - State University of New York Press.
    Addresses the place of addiction in modern art, literature, philosophy, and psychology, including its effects on the works of such thinkers and writers as Heidegger, Nietzsche, DeQuincey, Breton, and Burroughs.
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  12. A Potted History of Addiction and its Treatment in Time and Space.David J. Allsop - 2015 - Metascience 24 (1):59-64.
    Addiction Trajectories is a collection of anthropological essays that brings a refreshingly human perspective to the scientific pursuit of addiction. This book encourages the reader to step back from the details, giving voice to the experiences of the drug user as they grapple to come to terms with their condition and the efforts of the treatment community. At the same time, the book provides insight into the machinations of the treatment community struggling to understand the scope of their task and (...)
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  13. Addiction, Procrastination, and Failure Points in Decision-Making Systems.Chrisoula Andreou - 2008 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 31 (4):439-440.
    Redish et al. suggest that their failures-in-decision-making framework for understanding addiction can also contribute to improving our understanding of a variety of psychiatric disorders. In the spirit of reflecting on the significance and scope of their research, I briefly develop the idea that their framework can also contribute to improving our understanding of the pervasive problem of procrastination.
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  14. Making a Clean Break: Addiction and Ulysses Contracts.Chrisoula Andreou - 2008 - Bioethics 22 (1):25–31.
    I examine current models of self-destructive addictive behaviour, and argue that there is an important place for Ulysses contracts in coping with addictive behaviour that stems from certain problematic preference structures. Given the relevant preference structures, interference based on a Ulysses contract need not involve questionably favouring an agent’s past preferences over her current preferences, but can actually be justified in terms of the agent’s current concerns and commitments.
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  15. Introduction: Testing and Refining Marc Lewis’s Critique of the Brain Disease Model of Addiction.Anke Snoek & Steve Matthews - 2017 - Neuroethics 10 (1):1-6.
    In this introduction we set out some salient themes that will help structure understanding of a complex set of intersecting issues discussed in this special issue on the work of Marc Lewis: conceptual foundations of the disease model, tolerating the disease model given socio-political environments, and A third wave: refining conceptualization of addiction in the light of Lewis’s model.
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  16. How to Recover From a Brain Disease: Is Addiction a Disease, or Is There a Disease-Like Stage in Addiction?Snoek Anke - forthcoming - Neuroethics:1-10.
    People struggling with addiction are neither powerless over their addiction, nor are they fully in control. Lewis vigorously objects to the brain disease model of addiction, because it makes people lose belief in their self-efficacy, and hence hinders their recovery. Although he acknowledges that there is a compulsive state in addiction, he objects to the claim that this compulsion is carved in stone. Lewis argues that the BDMA underestimates the agency of addicted people, and hence hinder their recovery. Lewis’s work (...)
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  17. Review: Toward a Phenomenology of Addiction. [REVIEW]Peter Antich - 2018 - Phenomenological Reviews 1:1.
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  18. Jon Elster and Ole‐Jorgen Skog, Getting Hooked: Rationality and Addiction:Getting Hooked: Rationality and Addiction.Robert Archibald - 2000 - Ethics 110 (3):609-612.
  19. Moral Responsibility, Freedom, and Compulsion.Robert N. Audi - 1974 - American Philosophical Quarterly 11 (January):1-14.
    This paper sets out and defends an account of free action and explores the relation between free action and moral responsibility. Free action is analyzed as a certain kind of uncompelled action. The notion of compulsion is explicated in detail, And several forms of compulsion are distinguished and compared. It is argued that contrary to what is usually supposed, A person may be morally responsible for doing something even if he did not do it freely. On the basis of the (...)
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  20. Loss of Willpower: Abnormal Neural Mechanisms of Impulse Control and Decision Making in Addiction.Antoine Bechara, Xavier Noel & Eveline A. Crone - 2006 - In Reinout W. Wiers & Alan W. Stacy (eds.), Handbook of Implicit Cognition and Addiction. Sage Publications. pp. 215--232.
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  21. Weakness of Will, Reasonability, and Compulsion.James Beebe - 2013 - Synthese 190 (18):4077-4093.
    Experimental philosophers have recently begun to investigate the folk conception of weakness of will (e.g., Mele in Philos Stud 150:391–404, 2010; May and Holton in Philos Stud 157:341–360, 2012; Beebe forthcoming; Sousa and Mauro forthcoming). Their work has focused primarily on the ways in which akrasia (i.e., acting contrary to one’s better judgment), unreasonable violations of resolutions, and variations in the moral valence of actions modulate folk attributions of weakness of will. A key finding that has emerged from this research (...)
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  22. Views of Addiction Neuroscientists and Clinicians on the Clinical Impact of a 'Brain Disease Model of Addiction'.Stephanie Bell, Adrian Carter, Rebecca Mathews, Coral Gartner, Jayne Lucke & Wayne Hall - 2014 - Neuroethics 7 (1):19-27.
    Addiction is increasingly described as a “chronic and relapsing brain disease”. The potential impact of the brain disease model on the treatment of addiction or addicted individuals’ treatment behaviour remains uncertain. We conducted a qualitative study to examine: (i) the extent to which leading Australian addiction neuroscientists and clinicians accept the brain disease view of addiction; and (ii) their views on the likely impacts of this view on addicted individuals’ beliefs and behaviour. Thirty-one Australian addiction neuroscientists and clinicians (10 females (...)
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  23. Withholding Treatment From a Drug Addict: Poor Prognosis or Just Deserts?Piers Benn - 2013 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 22 (4):402-404.
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  24. Can Addicts Help It?Piers Benn - 2010 - Philosophy Now 80:17-20.
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  25. Disease, Addiction and the Freedom to Resist.Piers Benn - 2007 - Philosophical Papers 36 (3):465-481.
    ‘Twelve Step' recovery programmes such as Alcoholics Anonymous teach that an alcoholic, or other addict, has a disease, and needs to accept that she is ‘powerless' over her addiction before recovery can begin. However, the disease model of addiction has been criticised on the grounds that some addicts recover without external intervention. This critique is questionable, not because such recovery does not occur, but because many genuine diseases are self-limiting. However, the disease model is better criticised on other grounds. Central (...)
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  26. Is Addiction a Brain Disease?Kent C. Berridge - forthcoming - Neuroethics:1-5.
    Where does normal brain or psychological function end, and pathology begin? The line can be hard to discern, making disease sometimes a tricky word. In addiction, normal ‘wanting’ processes become distorted and excessive, according to the incentive-sensitization theory. Excessive ‘wanting’ results from drug-induced neural sensitization changes in underlying brain mesolimbic systems of incentive. ‘Brain disease’ was never used by the theory, but neural sensitization changes are arguably extreme enough and problematic enough to be called pathological. This implies that ‘brain disease’ (...)
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  27. Automatic Processes in Addiction: A Commentary.Kent C. Berridge & Terry E. Robinson - 2006 - In Reinout W. Wiers & Alan W. Stacy (eds.), Handbook of Implicit Cognition and Addiction. Sage Publications. pp. 477--481.
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  28. Control Versus Causation of Addiction.Kent C. Berridge & Terry E. Robinson - 1996 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 19 (4):576-577.
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  29. Morality and Medical Science: Concepts of Narcotic Addiction in Britain, 1820–1926.Virginia Berridge - 1979 - Annals of Science 36 (1):67-85.
    This paper examines the evolution of ideas about narcotic addiction. In the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, addiction was not viewed as a medical condition, but as a ‘bad habit’. The contemporary reaction to De Quincey's Confessions demonstrates the general lack of medical involvement. The question of opium eating and longevity, first generated by the Mar case, brought increased medical interest and an embryo connection with the anti-opium crusade. In the second half of the century, addiction was more fully ‘medicalised’ (...)
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  30. Addiction Science as a Hedgehog and as a Fox.Warren K. Bickel & Richard Yi - 2008 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 31 (4):441-442.
    Redish et al. provide a significant advance in our understanding of addiction by showing that the various addictive processes are in fact all decision-making processes and each may undergird addiction. We propose means for identifying more central addiction processes. This recognition of the complexity of addiction followed by identification of more central processes would help guide the development of prevention and treatment.
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  31. Drug Addiction and Capitalism: Too Close to the Body.Ole Bjerg - 2008 - Body and Society 14 (2):1-22.
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  32. Persuasion, Compulsion and Freedom in Plato's Laws.Christopher Bobonich - 1991 - Classical Quarterly 41 (2):365-388.
    One of the distinctions that Plato in the Laws stresses most heavily in his discussion of the proper relation between the individual citizen and the laws of the city is that between persuasion and compulsion. Law, Plato believes, should try to persuade rather than compel the citizens. Near the end of the fourth book of the Laws, the Athenian Stranger, Plato's spokesman in this dialogue, asks whether the lawgiver for their new city of Magnesia should in making laws ‘explain straightaway (...)
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  33. Addiction and Knowledge: Epistemic Disease and the Hegemonic Family.Judith Bradford & Crispin Sartwell - 1997 - In Hilde Lindemann (ed.), Feminism and Families. Routledge.
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  34. Matching and Melioration as Accounts of Reinforcement and Drug Addiction.Marc N. Branch - 1996 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 19 (4):577-578.
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  35. Self-Addiction and Self-Righteousness1.David Brin - 2011 - In Barbara Oakley, Ariel Knafo, Guruprasad Madhavan & David Sloan Wilson (eds.), Pathological Altruism. Oxford University Press. pp. 77.
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  36. Addicts, Mythmakers and Philosophers.Alan Brody - 2012 - Philosophy Now 90:14-17.
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  37. Neglecting the Social System: Clinical Neuroimaging and the Biological Reductionism of Addiction.Daniel Z. Buchman - 2007 - Journal of Ethics in Mental Health 2 (2):1-5.
    A main strength of neuroimaging and neuroscience is its reductionist focus on the brain. A limitation is that it runs the possibility of ignoring larger social factors. The brain image may not necessarily indicate the brain’s neuroplastic ‘rewiring’ over time from genomic, epigenetic, environmental and social conditions. These factors are all necessary to understand the diverse nature of our brains, especially complex concerns such as addiction. For addiction to emerge it requires an intersection of genetic, environmental and social influences. It (...)
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  38. Euphoria, Ecstacy, Inebriation, Abuse, Dependence, and Addiction: A Conceptual Analysis. [REVIEW]Karl-Ernst Bühler - 2004 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 8 (1):79-87.
    A conceptual analysis of basic notions of addictiology, i.e., Euphoria, Ecstasy, Inebriation, Abuse, Dependence, and Addiction was presented. Three different forms of dependence were distinguished: purely psychic, psycho-physiological, and purely somatic dependence. Two kinds of addiction were differentiated, i.e. appetitive and deprivative addiction. The conceptual requirements of addiction were discussed. Keeping these in mind some ethical problems of drug therapy and psychotherapy were explained. Criteria for the assessment of therapeutic approaches are suggested: effectiveness, side effects, economic, ethic, and esthetic valuation.
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  39. Work Motivations, Work Outcomes, and Health: Passion Versus Addiction.Ronald J. Burke & Lisa Fiksenbaum - 2009 - Journal of Business Ethics 84 (S2):257-263.
    Individuals in managerial and professional jobs now work long hours for a variety of reasons. Building on previous research on workaholism and on types of passion, the results of three exploratory studies of correlates of work-based Passion and Addiction are presented. Data were collected in three samples using anonymously completed questionnaires: Canadian managers and professionals, Australian psychologists, and Norwegian journalists. A common pattern of findings was observed in the three samples. First, respondents scoring higher on Passion and on Addiction were (...)
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  40. Addiction and Autonomy: What Can Neuroscience Tell Us.A. Carter & W. Hall - forthcoming - 11th Annual Conference of the Australasian Bioethics Association.
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  41. The Social Implications of Neurobiological Explanations of Resistible Compulsions.Adrian Carter & Wayne Hall - 2007 - American Journal of Bioethics 7 (1):15 – 17.
    The authors comments on several articles on addiction. Research suggests that addicted individuals have substantial impairments in cognitive control of behavior. The authors maintain that a proper study of addiction must include a neurobiological model of addiction to draw the attention of bioethicists and addiction neurobiologists. They also state that more addiction neuroscientists like S. E. Hyman are needed as they understand the limits of their research. Accession Number: 24077921; Authors: Carter, Adrian 1; Email Address: adrian.carter@uq.edu.au Hall, Wayne 1; Affiliations: (...)
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  42. Control and Responsibility in Addicted Individuals: What Do Addiction Neuroscientists and Clinicians Think?Adrian Carter, Rebecca Mathews, Stephanie Bell, Jayne Lucke & Wayne Hall - 2014 - Neuroethics 7 (2):205-214.
    Impaired control over drug use is a defining characteristic of addiction in the major diagnostic systems. However there is significant debate about the extent of this impairment. This qualitative study examines the extent to which leading Australian addiction neuroscientists and clinicians believe that addicted individuals have control over their drug use and are responsible for their behaviour. One hour semi-structured interviews were conducted during 2009 and 2010 with 31 Australian addiction neuroscientists and clinicians (10 females and 21 males; 16 with (...)
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  43. Impulsivity, Dual Diagnosis, and the Structure of Motivated Behavior in Addiction.R. Andrew Chambers - 2008 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 31 (4):443-444.
    Defining brain mechanisms that control and adapt motivated behavior will not only advance addiction treatment. It will help society see that addiction is a disease that erodes free will, rather than representing a free will that asks for or deserves consequences of drug-use choices. This science has important implications for understanding addiction's comorbidity in mental illness and reducing associated public health and criminal justice burdens.
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  44. Strong Feelings: Emotion, Addiction and Human Behavior.L. C. Charland - 2001 - Philosophical Review 110 (1):108-110.
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  45. The Varieties of Compulsion in Addiction.Louis C. Charland - 2012 - American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience 3 (2):50-51.
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  46. Affective Neuroscience and Addiction.Louis C. Charland - 2007 - American Journal of Bioethics 7 (1):20 – 21.
    The author comments on the article “The neurobiology of addiction: Implications for voluntary control of behavior,‘ by S. E. Hyman. Hyman suggests that addicted individuals have substantial impairments in cognitive control of behavior. The author states that brain and neurochemical systems are involved in addiction. He also suggests that neuroscience can link the diseased brain processes in addiction to the moral struggles of the addicts. Accession Number: 24077919; Authors: Charland, Louis C. 1; Email Address: charland@uwo.ca; Affiliations: 1: University of Western (...)
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  47. Cynthia's Dilemma: Consenting to Heroin Prescription.Louis C. Charland - 2002 - American Journal of Bioethics 2 (2):37 – 47.
    Heroin prescription involves the medical provision of heroin in the treatment of heroin addiction. Rudimentary clinical trials on that treatment modality have been carried out and others are currently underway or in development. However, it is questionable whether subjects considered for such trials are mentally competent to consent to them. The problem has not been sufficiently appreciated in ethical and clinical discussions of the topic. The challenges involved throw new light on the role of value and accountability in contemporary discussions (...)
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  48. Strong Feelings: Emotion, Addiction and Human Behavior.Louis C. Charland & Jon Elster - 2001 - Philosophical Review 110 (1):108.
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  49. Brain Disease or Moral Condition? Wrong Question.Thomas I. Cochrane - 2007 - American Journal of Bioethics 7 (1):24 – 25.
    The author comments on the article “The neurobiology of addition: Implications for voluntary control of behavior,‘ by S. E. Hyman. The author agrees with Hyman that debate persists whether addiction is a brain disease or a moral condition. The author suggests that even if we understand the neurobiology of addiction, it will make sense to seek accountability from the addict and to modify his behavior. He also suggests that no facts about neurobiology will change these moral requirements. Accession Number: 24077917; (...)
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  50. Addiction, Molecules and Morality: Disease Does Not Obviate Responsibility.Peter J. Cohen - 2007 - American Journal of Bioethics 7 (1):21 – 23.
    The author comments on the article “The neurobiology of addiction: Implications for voluntary control of behavior,‘ by S. E. Hyman. The author agrees with Hyman that debate persists whether addiction is a brain disease or a moral condition. The author states that Hyman has not fully answered the question of when addicted persons are responsible for what they do. The author also suggests that addiction is a brain disease and therapy can improve the symptoms of this life-threatening syndrome. Accession Number: (...)
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