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.
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.
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 all 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 women who are not white. This act of exclusion undermines the generality of Eaton’s thesis, and exposes a more general bias in discussions of female representations in art. Different kinds of 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.
A paper on the nature of sexual desire.
Theories of sexual desire have tried to identify a common object that unifies the varied states of sexual desire. In this paper, I argue that 1) personal and cultural norms always determine whether a given instance of desire counts as sexual, thus there is no unified object of sexual desire; and 2) because sexual desires are always infused with personal and cultural norms, the unified object approach ought to be replaced with a family resemblance model of sexual desire. I consider some of the ethical upshots of the family resemblance model, and compare this to the traditional, universalist approach.
Awards & Fellowships
2020-2021 Altman Dissertation Fellowship
2019-2020 Writing Across the Curriculum Fellowship, Kingsborough Community College
2019 Graduate Assistantship, Philosophy in an Inclusive Key Summer Institute (PIKSI), Penn State University, Rock Ethics Institute
2018 Graduate Student Travel Award, Southern Society for Philosophy and Psychology
2016-2019 Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Doctoral Fellowship