Read e-book online A History of Drugs: Drugs and Freedom in the Liberal Age PDF

By Toby Seddon

ISBN-10: 0415480272

ISBN-13: 9780415480277

Why are a few psychoactive components considered as ‘dangerous drugs’, to be managed by means of the legal legislations inside an international prohibition regime, when others – from alcohol and tobacco, via to these we name ‘medicines’ – are obvious and controlled very another way? A heritage of substances strains a family tree of the development and governance of the ‘drug challenge’ during the last 2 hundred years, calling into query the most basic principles during this box: from ‘addiction’ to the very inspiration of ‘drugs’. on the center of the publication is the declare that it was once with the emergence within the past due eighteenth century of contemporary liberal capitalism, with its precise emphasis on freedom, that our matters concerning the intake of a few of those ingredients started to grow. And, certainly, notions of freedom, loose will and accountability stay imperative to the drug query this day. Pursuing an cutting edge inter-disciplinary method, A historical past of gear presents an educated and insightful account of the origins of latest drug coverage. it will likely be crucial interpreting for college students and teachers operating in legislations, criminology, sociology, social coverage, heritage and political technological know-how.

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Second, the notion of ‘natural liberty’, as famously set out by Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations, namely that by placing limits on government and enabling free trade, the ‘invisible hand’ of the market would lead to prosperity for society as a whole. Assuring individual liberty, in the sense of people being left free to pursue their own interests, becomes the governmental watchword (see Campbell, 1977). Within welfare liberalism, it is no longer assumed that the entire population has the capacity for autonomous action.

On the face of it, this is something that we all intuitively ‘know’. Is it not a self-evident feature of our own inner life and experience? But this question has in fact preoccupied and troubled philosophers for a very long time. Kant, for example, explored the notion of the autonomous will in several of his works, whilst, according to Hamacher (1986: 123) at least, the will became the ‘central category of Nietzsche’s late work’. Indeed, the roll-call of philosophers who have grappled with the question of the will is long and distinguished in equal measure, from Descartes to Locke, from Aquinas to Hume.

We see the series very clearly here. The idea that human beings are entirely free and responsible actors leads to a particular conception of the nature of habitual drunkenness. At the same time, the case of the drunkard provides a specific instance or example in which the nature of this freedom is illuminated. Let me give a second example. In the various elaborations of the theory of inebriety at the end of the nineteenth century by Kerr, Clouston, Crothers and others (see Chapter 4), one of the central theoretical difficulties they face is to explain why individuals choose to drink heavily or take morphine or opium on a regular basis in the first place, knowing the potential consequences.

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A History of Drugs: Drugs and Freedom in the Liberal Age by Toby Seddon


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