The Human Condition
Can Addicts Help It?
Piers Benn can’t resist finding out.
Are you an addict? Or do you just enjoy a certain substance or activity, and spend a lot of time indulging in it? What is the difference, and how could we tell? And if you are an addict, does that mean you literally cannot resist the things you are addicted to? These are important matters, since they relate to whether you’re responsible for succumbing to the addiction, or the misdemeanours you commit when in its grip. So they are also relevant to questions of legal and social policy.
Take an example. Sometimes you hear of people winning huge damages against tobacco companies for persuading them to smoke, thereby harming their health. But can this be right? The courtroom defence, “Your Honour, I shoplifted because a friend persuaded me to,” would be derided.