Phenomenology of Addiction: Substance Use and Lived Experience

June 4, 2024
UCD Centre for Ethics in Public Life , University College Dublin

UCD Sutherland School of Law

This event is available both online and in-person


  • Society for Applied Philosophy
  • The Mind Association

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In a recent interview Ireland’s Minister of State with responsibility for Public Health, Well Being and the National Drugs Strategy, highlighted the significance of focusing on the lived experience of drug users. Emphasis on lived experience is nowadays considered as the state of art in psychopathology. Not surprisingly to those familiar with the history of philosophy, such an emphasis is most often linked to the philosophical movement of phenomenology.

The conference has the following 4 objectives:

1) To examine the extent to which phenomenology can function as a theoretical framework that shifts our assumptions about addictive behaviour.

2) To reconsider the categories that have been used historically to capture “pathological” or “deviant” behaviours of people with addictions.

3) To develop the conceptual tools that can help us understand how addicted persons relate to the world, others and their own body.

4) To discuss healing strategies and how important it is to cultivate new ways of relating to oneself, others and the world in the process of recovery.


9:00-9:20 Introduction

9:20-10:00 Martha Griffin, Clóda Ní Greachain, Líam Mac Gabhann, “Deconstructing ‘addiction’ within a living experience world view” (Mad in Ireland)

10:00-10:40 Anna Westin, “Becoming self: The mystical draw of substance” (St Mellitus College)

10:40-11:00 Coffee break

11:00-11:40 Marcin Moskalewicz & Albert Lukasik, “Temporal experience in addiction” (Heidelberg University/Poznan University of Medical Sciences)

11:40-12:20 Ryan Kemp, “The unexpected crisis of addiction: Sobriety” (Central & North West London NHS Foundation Trust)

12:20-13:00 Ion Copoeru, “Lived experience of recovery: Methodological considerations for investigating the micro-dynamics of peer support groups” (Babeş-Bolyai University Cluj-Napoca)

13:00-14:30 Lunch Break

14:30-15:10 Guilherme Messas, “Is there such a thing as comorbidity in addiction? And why it matters” (Ciências Médicas da Santa Casa de Sao Paulo)

15:10-15:50 Zoey Lavallee, “Loneliness and addiction” (McGill University)

15:50-16:10 Coffee break

16:10 -16:50 Gerda Reith, “Narcotic Time: Identity, Memory, and the Phenomenology of Addiction” (University of Glasgow)

16:50-17:30 Georgios Petropoulos & Christina Petropoulou, “Toward a phenomenologically informed account of self-medication and substance misuse” (Newcastle University/University College Dublin & Simon Community Dublin)

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June 2, 2024, 9:00am IST

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