"Affective Scaffolding in Addiction." Inquiry, 2023
Theories of addiction have sought to explain how self-control is undermined in addiction. However, an important explanatory factor in addictive motivation and behaviours has so far been underexamined: emotion. This paper examines the link between emotion and loss of control in addiction. I use the concept of affective scaffolding to argue that drug use functions as a form of emotion regulation that, especially in certain psycho-socioeconomic conditions, can escalate into what I term addictive affective dependence. Addictive affective dependence is extremely motivating of drug use, and in this way contributes to the agent losing control. recovery: strategies that address psycho-socioeconomic conditions are particularly successful in bolstering agency in addiction. Furthermore, my view explains why these strategies work. Thus, the view provides a conceptual framework for existing effective methods of addressing addiction.
The phenomenon of craving is widely taken to be a key feature of addiction, commonly appealed to in order to explain how addiction jeopardizes self-control, intentions, resolutions, and choice. The received view of craving is a neurobiological account which defines cravings as intense urges that result from the pathological effects of drugs on the dopamine system. In this paper, I argue that the received view of craving is inadequate; it misidentifies the content of addictive craving and fails to capture its phenomenology. I propose an alternative explanation according to which addictive cravings are psychologically complex desires that aim at emotionally significant experiences that are highly valued in the context of addiction. This alternative account helps explain why cravings are so intense and often extremely difficult to resist.
"What’s Wrong with the (White) Female Nude?" The Polish Journal of Aesthetics 41(2), 2016.
In “What’s Wrong with the (Female) Nude?” A. W. Eaton argues that the female nude in Western art promotes sexually objectifying, heteronormative erotic taste, and thereby has insidious effects on gender equality. In this response, I reject the claim that sexual objectification is a phenomenon that can be generalized across the experiences of women. In particular, I argue that Eaton’s thesis is based on the experiences of women who are white, and does not pay adequate attention to the lives of racialized women. This act of exclusion undermines the generality of Eaton’s thesis, and exposes a more general bias in discussions of the representation of women in art. Different kinds of gendered bodies have been subjected to different kinds of objectifying construal, and the ethics of nudity in art must be extended to take such variation into account.
This is a response to commentaries by Owen Flanagan and Douglas Porter on my article "Addictive Craving: There's More to Wanting More." In this reply I make clarifying points regarding my views on the relationship between neuroscience and phenomenology, and I expand on my original thesis, focusing especially on addiction treatment, harm reduction, and the role of testimony.
Under Review & In Progress
A paper on affordances and addiction, with Lucy Osler (under review)
A paper on affective injustice in psychiatry, with A. Gagné-Julien (under review)
A paper on situated cognition, threatening environments, and psychopathology (in progress)
A paper on emotion regulation and agency in addiction, with A. Snoek &F. Gammelsæter (in progress)
A paper on transformative experience and addiction recovery (in progress)