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Addiction and the capability to abstain
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies.
2024 (English)In: Res Publica, ISSN 1356-4765, E-ISSN 1572-8692, Vol. 30, p. 211-228Article in journal (Other academic) Published
Abstract [en]

Addiction is a widespread problem affecting people from different regions, generations, and classes. It is often analysed as a problem consisting in compulsion or poor choice-making. Recently, however, integrated analyses of compulsion and choice have been called for. In this paper, I argue that the capability approach highlights the well-being loss at stake in cases of addiction, whether they are described as stemming from compulsion, poor choice-making, or some combination thereof. The relevant capabilities obtain when combinations of individual, socio-political, and environmental factors jointly facilitate abstention. On this complementary evaluative analysis, people’s capabilities to abstain are shown to be undermined by how different kinds of factors interact with each other. The upshot is that without committing to an empirical view of the nature of addiction that must capture each case, the capabilitarian analysis helps highlight a central goal of addiction-related well-being policy-work, namely to promote people’s genuine opportunities to abstain.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer Nature, 2024. Vol. 30, p. 211-228
Keywords [en]
Well-being, Addiction, Capability approach, Choice views, Compulsion views
National Category
Philosophy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-207985DOI: 10.1007/s11158-023-09618-yISI: 001022755100002Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85163874407OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-207985DiVA, id: diva2:1755038
Note

Originally included in thesis in manuscript form. 

Available from: 2023-05-05 Created: 2023-05-05 Last updated: 2024-06-19Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Being well and doing good
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Being well and doing good
2023 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[sv]
Vara väl och göra gott
Abstract [en]

This dissertation contains an introductory chapter and four articles. In section 1 of the introductory chapter, I provide an overview of my argument. In section 2, I do five things. First, I show that well-being is subject-relative, meaning that well-being is always present in a life if it is present at all. Second, I restrict the discussion to people as welfare subjects. Third, I describe the levels of generality that well-being theorising can take. Fourth, I show well-being’s relations to other values. Fifth, I describe the distinction between having or not having positive well-being and enduring ill-being. In section 3 of the introductory chapter, I outline the main philosophical well-being theories. I highlight their strengths and weaknesses, before moving on to section 4 where I describe the conceptual framework I use in my articles: the capability approach. The capability approach focuses on genuine opportunities, beings, and doings. The opportunities, beings, and doings can be specified in different contexts as needed. Hence, capabilitarian analyses focusing on different opportunities, beings and doings, are available. In my articles, I argue for four things regarding those well-being analyses. First, I argue that, and show how, expert opinions and public opinions can be reconciled in well-being policy-making situations. Second, I argue that, and show how, prudentially negative beings and doings should be assessed by analysing cases of homelessness. Third, I argue that the capability approach can be used to offer a complementary account to the predominant philosophical analyses of addiction which mainly focus on its descriptive nature. My complementary analysis highlights further targets for policy-making efforts. Fourth, I argue that well-being is context-sensitive. To that end, I bolster the capability approach by refining a view called contextualism. I defend this view against counterarguments and consequently both contextualism and the capability approach are made more viable.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå University, 2023. p. 47
Series
Umeå studies in philosophy, ISSN 1650-1748 ; 14
Keywords
well-being, ill-being, capability approach, monism, pluralism
National Category
Philosophy
Research subject
Ethics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-207989 (URN)978-91-8070-063-4 (ISBN)978-91-8070-064-1 (ISBN)
Public defence
2023-06-09, Hörsal HUM.D.220 (Hörsal F), Umeå, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2023-05-17 Created: 2023-05-11 Last updated: 2023-05-11Bibliographically approved

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Östlund, Sebastian

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