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Self-Deception and Responsibility for Addiction

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We frequently accuse heavy drinkers and drug users of self-deception if they refuse to admit that they are addicted. However, given the ways in which we usually conceptualize it, acknowledging addiction merely involves swapping one form of self-deception for another. We ask addicts to see themselves as in the grip of an irresistible desire, and to accept that addiction is an essentially physiological process. To the extent this is so, we, as much as the addicts, suffer from self-deception, and the responsibility for their state is in part ours. Conversely, since addicts are compelled to accept a self-deceptive image of themselves, they are at least partially excused from blame for their self-deception.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Melbourne, Parkville Vic Australia

Publication date: 2003-10-01

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