I am a PhD candidate in the Department of Philosophy at Temple University.
My dissertation is in philosophical psychology, philosophy of action and normative ethics, and engages deeply with psychology and neuroscience. In it, I resist the growing trend in philosophy of denying that addiction is compulsive (i.e. that it compromises free choice). I articulate necessary and sufficient conditions for the compulsivity of addiction and show that extant arguments fail to establish that they do not obtain. I then show that in addition to irresistible desire—for which I provide a novel conceptual analysis—there are at least two other mechanisms, both rarely considered, by which addiction appears to compel (viz. ‘emotional compulsion’ and automatism). While available evidence suggests addiction is compulsive, more philosophical and empirical work is required to settle the matter, and I make several suggestions for further research throughout the dissertation. In the final chapter, I argue that a person is morally responsible for compulsive addictive behaviors if they are morally responsible for becoming addicted, but that the proximal lapse of behavioral control renders certain forms of blame unfitting.
In connection with my dissertation, I would like to develop a theory of agentive ability/practical possibility. Outside of my work on self-control and addiction I have research interests in bioethics, consequentialism and the nature of wisdom. When I’m reading philosophy for pleasure, it’s usually Plato!
Faculty Advisor: Eugene Chislenko