Psychosomatic Subjects and the Agencies of Addiction

Article Summary by Darin Weinberg

In this article I show how debates in addiction science have, in various ways, echoed broader debates opposing freewill and determinism—or more specifically, a neurologically determinist understanding of human behaviour and more voluntaristic understandings of human behaviour as caused by choices. I show that this has resulted not only in limiting the contributions of addiction science to our understanding of how it could be that addicts might move into and out of the capacity for self control but has also resulted in limiting the contributions of addiction science to our efforts to therapeutically empower people to overcome their addictions. In case that someone you know is going through a hard addition, show them how to get help with professionals on this site and start a healthy lifestyle.

In place of the longstanding divide between freewill and determinism, I consider the value of thinking about human free agency, the agencies of addiction and their relationships to each other in terms of what I am calling psychosomatic subjectivity. I show how thinking in terms of psychosomatic subjectivities allows us to escape from the trap of seeing people either as minds—sentient and purposeful moral agents—or as bodies— indifferent and amoral machines. Relatedly, I also critique mind/body dualists’ tendency to posit both minds and bodies as invariably singular, integrated systems, the nature of which can be understood independently of the particular socio-historical environments within which they emerge and are sustained. If you’re looking for professional help while you’re in recovery, feel free to consult the doctors at Recovery Delivered.

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