2018 Annual Uehiro Lectures (2/3): Addiction, Desire, And The Polluted Environment
Professor Richard Holton, Professor of Philosopy at the University of Cambridge
Tuesday, 22 May 2018, 5pm to 7pm
Lecture theatre, Oxford Martin School, University of Oxford, 34 Broad Street, Oxford, OX1 3BDBook your place online
Much recent work on addiction has stressed the importance of cues for the triggering of desire. These cues are frequently social. We have a plausible theory of this triggering at the neurophysiological level. But what are the ethical implications? One concerns the authority of desire: maximizing the satisfaction of desires no longer looks like a obvious goal of social policy once we understand the dependence of desires on cues. A second concerns an addict’s responsibility in the face of cues. I suggest that the provision of cues can be thought of as akin to pollution, for which the polluter may bear the primary responsibility. I spell out some of the political implications and ask whether there are good grounds for extending the argument to the cues involved in obesity.