Addiction is No Excuse

Daniel Cohen, Lauren Saling

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter


Addiction is commonly considered to be a powerful methodological foil for the analysis of moral responsibility. It is thought that responsibility, inter alia, must involve just those psychological features lacking in addicts because addiction seems, intuitively, to be a good excuse. In this paper we argue that this methodology has not been successful. Various models have been proposed to characterize addiction. However, none of these models successfully distinguishes addiction from weakness of will. Because weakness of will, unlike addiction, is not intuitively a good excuse, the various models of addiction entail the surprising result that addiction, too, is not a good excuse. But if addiction is no excuse, it provides no clear guidance regarding the conditions of moral responsibility.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEssays on Free Will and Moral Responsibility
EditorsNick Trakakis, Daniel Cohen
Place of PublicationNewcastle, UK
PublisherCambridge Scholars Publishing
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)9781847188670
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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