Problem gambling is typically understood to involve problems in self-control not only in clinical descriptions, e.g. ICD-10 and DSM-5, but also in general. Gambling is somehow out of control of the agent and the problem gambler seems to have an increased risk of all kinds of harms related to gambling. The picture is bleak and centres in weaknesses and failures of the problem gambler. Not only does it contribute to the difficulties of overcoming the problems but may also raise the threshold of seeking help.

Yet, it would be implausible to view the gambler who has problems in gambling as an agent who is automatically out of control. Gambling as such is an activity that challenges our conceptions of control in action. Agency is matter of degree and problem gambling involves a more nuanced notion of self-control than a simple control-no control dichotomy (they may, for instance, acquire and develop different kinds of skills in attempts to master their chosen game of chance). The understanding of self-control in problem gambling needs to accommodate the challenges of non-problematic gambling in order to reflect the world. How then to understand the agency in problem gambling? In the presentation, I will suggest how vulnerability in problem gambling should be understood in a way that allows the (problem) gambler to have agency in gambling in a relevant sense.

Speaker bio
Susanne Uusitalo, PhD, MA earned her doctoral degree in philosophy 2015 and is currently a university teacher in practical philosophy at the University of Turku, Finland. She is also the chair of the steering committee of the Finnish unit of the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and has been selected as a member for the national committee on medical research ethics. Her interests lie in the philosophy and applied ethics of addiction (research).

Date: Tuesday 20 November 2018
Time: Refreshments from 12pm; talk begins 12:30pm
Venue: Room 201, McElwain Building 24A

About Lunchtime talks

The University of Queensland Centre for Youth Substance Abuse Research (CYSAR) and the School of Psychology are teaming up to host two lunchtime talks from international speakers in November 2018.


McElwain Building (24A)