2018 Annual Uehiro Lectures (2/3)

We are pleased to announce that the 2018 Annual Uehiro Lectures in Practical Ethics will be delivered in May 2018 by Professor Richard Holton of University of Cambridge.

Series title:  Illness and the Social Self

Who we are depends in part on the social world in which we live. In these lectures I look at some consequences for three mental health problems, broadly construed: dementia, addiction, and psychosomatic illness.

Lecture 2 of 3: Tuesday 22 May, 5.00 - 7.00 pm

Venue: Lecture Theatre, Oxford Martin School, 34 Broad Street, Oxford

Addiction, Desire, And The Polluted Environment

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.

Professor Richard Holton

Richard Holton is professor of philosophy at the University of Cambridge, and a fellow of Peterhouse. Before that he taught at MIT, Monash, the ANU, Sheffield and Edinburgh. I  obtained a BA in PPE at University College, Oxford,before completing a PhD at Princeton. His areas of research are moral psychology and related areas, but also in ethics, philosophy of law and philosophy of language.

Audio: https://mediapub.it.ox.ac.uk/episode/2018-annual-uehiro-lectures-23-addiction-desire-and-polluted-environment