The problem of free will in addiction

Philosophy bites has an interview with Thomas Pink on free will that I think touches on points important to thinking about addiction.

It’s my anecdotal sense that much of the resistance to the disease model comes from concerns about free will. Specifically, that the disease model suggests a loss of free will (or, a kind of determinism), at least in this one area of the addict’s life. The problem here is this: if the person is not in control of their behavior, how can we hold them accountable or assign blame for the bad things that they they do or that result from their AOD use? This isn’t a small matter. This kind of accountability is an important social glue.

This podcast (18 minutes) does a good job exploring the matter of blame and free will, but, more importantly, addresses the apparent incompatibility between free will and determinism by suggesting that we conceptualize them improperly.

A helpful metaphor is offered: If a machine has two controllers (one controller representing deterministic factors and the other representing free will), does that mean that only one controller works? Or, is it possible that they both are capable of controlling the machine?