Causal Network Accounts Of Ill-being: Depression & Digital Well-being

In Christopher Burr & Luciano Floridi (eds.), Ethics of Digital Well-being: A Multidisciplinary Approach. Springer International Publishing. pp. 221-245 (2020)
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Abstract

Depression is a common and devastating instance of ill-being which deserves an account. Moreover, the ill-being of depression is impacted by digital technology: some uses of digital technology increase such ill-being while other uses of digital technology increase well-being. So a good account of ill-being would explicate the antecedents of depressive symptoms and their relief, digitally and otherwise. This paper borrows a causal network account of well-being and applies it to ill-being, particularly depression. Causal networks are found to provide a principled, coherent, intuitively plausible, and empirically adequate account of cases of depression in every-day and digital contexts. Causal network accounts of ill-being also offer philosophical, scientific, and practical utility. Insofar as other accounts of ill-being cannot offer these advantages, we should prefer causal network accounts of ill-being.

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Nick Byrd
Stevens Institute of Technology

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