#TMAG (The Many Addiction Games, December 19, 2015):
Are you addicted to snake poison? Or gambling? Are you an alcoholic? Have you quit smoking? Why are cigarettes so popular? Why are slot machines more addictive than games of skill? Why are we addicted to anything? Is there a threshold? Are some of us (genetically) more vulnerable than others? Is an addict always aware that she is an addict? Does addiction always have both ‘loss of control’ as well as ‘potential to harm’ components? Can we be mistaken about the (subjective) experience of our own bodily sensations? Is addiction always a desire for certain kinds of sensations? What precedes the craving? Are addicts price sensitive, & do they respond to financial rewards? Does tobacco tax work? What if the substance is not available? Is it always irrational to be an addict? Can one avoid severe depression via addiction? Are hardcore addicts different? Is their ethical vision deeply skewed? Might brown sugar and alcohol addicts look down upon each other? Why does relapse happen? Is it tough being an addict? Is our concept of addiction going to expand in the future? Will addiction always be there, or does it depend largely on the environment? SynTalk thinks about these & more questions using concepts from behavioral economics & philosophy (Prof. Harold Kincaid, University of Cape Town, South Africa), psychiatry (Prof. Shubhangi Parkar, Seth G.S.M.C. & KEM Hospital, Mumbai), & philosophy (Dr. Kranti Saran, Ashoka University, Delhi).
SynTalk is pleased and privileged to have hosted the following SynTalkrs (in alphabetical order) on its #TMAG show.
Prof. Harold Kincaid (behavioural economics, philosophy) is Professor and RUBEN (Research Unit in Behavioural Economics and Neuroeconomics) Director at The School of Economics, University of Cape Town, Cape Town. His research interests are in behavioural economics and neuroeconomics, philosophy and methodology of social science. His work has been in the areas of causal modeling, addiction, experimental elicitation of risk and time preferences and other topics in behavioral economics. Prof. Kincaid was also a Professor of Philosophy at University of Alabama, Birmingham for nearly three decades (1983 to 2012). He has published multiple papers on reductionism, scientific realism, inference to the best explanation, causation, and other issues in the philosophy of the social sciences. Among his books are ‘Philosophical Foundations of the Social Sciences: Analyzing Controversies in Social Research (1996)’ and ‘Individualism and the Unity of Science (1997)’. He is also the co-editor of ‘Classifying Psychopathology: Mental and Natural Kinds’, ‘Distributed Cognition and the Will: Individual Volition and Social Context’, ‘What Is Addiction?’ (all published by the MIT Press), and ‘The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Economics’ (OUP, 2009).
Prof. Shubhangi Parkar (psychiatry) is the Professor & Head, Department of Psychiatry, and also the Chief, Drug De-addiction Center Of Excellence, at the twin institutes of KEM Hospital & Seth G.S. Medical College, Mumbai. Working in both hospital and community settings, she has developed programs on suicide prevention, geriatric psychiatry, substance abuse, addictions & women’s mental health. After her M.B.B.S. from University of Bombay, she completed her D.P.M. & M.D. in Psychiatry. She also received her Ph.D. from University of Basel, Switzerland, where her thesis was titled ‘Gender and the cultural context of urban mental health in Mumbai’. As part of her Ph.D. thesis, she undertook an ethnographic research in the Malvani community in order to understand the influence of social and cultural factors such as economy, unemployment, poverty, and the gendered dynamics of family interactions that affect mental health. Her other key focus areas have been de-addiction, cultural epidemiology, suicide prevention, women’s mental health, possession syndrome and social psychiatry. Prof. Parkar has published widely, has been on Boards of academic organizations, and was also the President of The Indian Psychiatric Society (West Zone). She has written many articles in Marathi newspapers & her published work includes a book in Marathi, ‘Vyasanmukata Houya’. She also received the Navshakti Sanman Sohala Puraskar in the year 2014.
Dr. Kranti Saran (philosophy) is currently the Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Ashoka University (Delhi) and a Research Associate at Harvard University (Cambridge). His primary research interest is the philosophy of perception, besides which he has also worked on social identity, the nature of faith, and what meditation might teach us about attention. He completed a B.A. (Hons.) and an M.A. in philosophy from St Stephen’s College, New Delhi, and a Ph.D. from Harvard University. Previously he was a Fellow in Philosophy at Harvard University, an Assistant Professor at the University of Delhi, and a Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Philosophy, JNU. Some of the topics that he is currently working on are: the intentionality of bodily sensations, the metaphysics of constitution in the philosophy of mind, the metaphysics of bodily sensations, bodily sensations and cognitive penetration, introspection, memory and its connection to bodily states. His published works include Faith and the Structure of the Mind (Sophia, 2014). Dr. Saran has delivered talks at NYU-Abu Dhabi, University of Hyderabad, JNU, NUS-Singapore, & University of Delhi, among others. He has also written op-eds recently for the Indian Express and the Business Standard.
Note: Any & all errors in the brief profiles above are SynTalk’s own.
#TMAG mentions: Georges Gilles de la Tourette, among others.