Addiction and Virtue: Beyond the Models of Disease and Choice

Addiction and Virtue: Beyond the Models of Disease and Choice

by Kent Dunnington


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What is the nature of addiction? Neither of the two dominant models (disease or choice) adequately accounts for the experience of those who are addicted or of those who are seeking to help them.

In this interdisciplinary work, Kent Dunnington brings the neglected resources of philosophical and theological analysis to bear on the problem of addiction. Drawing on the insights of Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas, he formulates an alternative to the usual reductionistic models.

Going further, Dunnington maintains that addiction is not just a problem facing individuals. Its pervasiveness sheds prophetic light on our cultural moment. Moving beyond issues of individual treatment, this groundbreaking study also outlines significant implications for ministry within the local church context.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780830839018
Publisher: InterVarsity Press
Publication date: 07/26/2011
Series: Strategic Initiatives in Evangelical Theology
Pages: 199
Sales rank: 367,051
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Kent Dunnington is associate professor of philosophy at Biola University. He holds a PhD in philosophy from Texas A&M and an MTS in theology from Duke University.

Table of Contents

1 Addiction and Disease—Science, Philosophy, and Theology
Defining Addiction Neurologically
Assessing Risk Genetically
Treating Addiction Medically
Science, Philosophy, and Theology
2 Addiction and Incontinence—Resources in Aristotle
The Paradox of Addiction
Addiction and Incontinence
Sources of Incontinence
3 Addiction and Habit—Resources in Aquinas
Aquinas on Habit
Habit as a Mediating Category
Kinds and Causes of Habit
Addiction as Habit
4 Addiction and Intemperance—Sensory Pleasures and Moral Goods
Complex Habits
Addiction and Intemperance
5 Addiction and Modernity—The Addict as Unwitting Prophet
Aristotle on Habit and Happiness
Modern Arbitrariness
Modern Boredom
Modern Loneliness
6 Addiction and Sin—Testing an Ancient Doctrine
Sins, Sin, and Original Sin
Sin, Addiction, and Voluntarism
Sin as a Religious Category
7 Addiction and Worship—Caritas and Its Counterfeits
Immanence and Transcendence
Aquinas on Charity
Addiction and Charity
Addiction as a Way of Life
8 Addiction and the Church—The Gospel and the Hope of Recovery
Addiction and Worship
The Church and the Hope of Recovery
Recovery and Friendship
Addiction as Prophetic Challenge

What People are Saying About This

Stanley Hauerwas

"Drawing on Aristotle's and Aquinas's accounts of habit, Kent Dunnington has given us an analysis of addiction we have desperately needed. Few are able to combine philosophical analysis with theological insight, but Dunnington has done it in a manner that helps us better understand the nature of addiction and why it is so prevalent in our time. This is a book that needs to be read, not only by those who work in the fields of addictive behaviors but also by philosophers, theologians and pastors. I suspect in a short amount of time, this book will be viewed as something of a classic in the field."
Stanley Hauerwas, Duke Divinity School

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