Getting Hooked: Rationality and Addiction

Christian Perring reviews the book, edited by Jon Elster and Ole-Jorgen Skog, in Metapsychology:

ElsterWhile there has been a huge amount of research into addiction, most of that research is at empirical social studies, rat behavior, genetics, and neurophysiology. Some of the most important aspects of the research, i.e., how to integrate these different sources of information, and what the implications are for morality, policy, and our self-understanding, have gone remarkably neglected, especially by philosophers and ethicists.

But there are signs of change. This may be largely due to the work of one person. Jon Elster has for a long time been one of the more thoughtful social scientists discussing human self-defeating behavior, and is especially well known for his work on forms of self control based on Ulysses and the Sirens. He has recently published a book on the rationality and emotion, Alchemies of the Mind, and another book on emotion and addiction, Strong Feelings. He has also co-edited a book with Ole-Jorgen Skog on rationality and addiction, titled Getting Hooked. This collection of 10 articles derives from the meetings of a group that met annually from 1992-1997. The contributors include three psychiatrists, a political scientist, a philosopher, two economists and two sociologists.

More here.  [Photo shows Elster.]