Towards an integral metatheory of addiction

Dissertation, (2014)
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Addiction is one of the most significant problems facing contemporary society. Consequently many scholars, institutions and clinicians have sought to understand this complex phenomenon, as is evident in the abundance of etiological models of addiction in existence today. A literature review pointed that there is little consensus regarding the nature and etiopathogenesis of addiction, and integrative models have not yet been able to provide the sought-after integration. In addressing this problem, this study offers a theoretical analysis of the paradigmatic and meta-paradigmatic suitability of Integral Theory in the design of an integrated metatheory of addiction. The data consisted of the most prominent etiological theories and models of addiction. The study focused on several essential features constituting the architectonic of any metatheory that attempts to provide conceptual scaffolding for the construction of a comprehensive metatheory of addiction. The criteria for the construction of a metatheory were conceptual integration, ontological span, ontological depth, empirical validity and internal consistency. Integral Theory was critically assessed in terms of each of the abovementioned criteria. The study suggests that Integral Theory is eminently suitable as a philosophical foundation for the development of an integrated metatheory of addiction.



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Guy du Plessis
Utah State University

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