Volitional dimensions of decision-making in addiction

Research team

Eric Racine, PhD (Pragmatic Health Ethics Research Unit, Université de Montréal, McGill University); Marianne Rochette (Pragmatic Health Ethics Research Unit, Université de Montréal) Claudia Barned, PhD (Pragmatic Health Ethics Research Unit, McGill University); Sebastian Sattler, PhD (University of Cologne)


Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)

This project explores the voluntary aspects of decision-making within the context of drug addiction. Grounded in pragmatism, the project focuses on the testing and refinement of ethically-relevant concepts such as free will. The empirical component includes an examination of the role of individual and contextual factors on beliefs in free will. Through qualitative (in-depth interviews and participant observation) and quantitative (vignette based) inquiry, this study will advance our understanding of free will within the context of ethics theory and practice.


  1. Racine Eric, Barned Claudia. Addiction and voluntariness: Five “challenges” to address in moving the discussion forward, Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, 2019; 28(4): 677-694; https://doi.org/10.1017/S0963180119000628.
  2. Ewusi-Boisvert Estelle, Racine Eric. A critical review of methodologies and results in recent research on belief in free will. Neuroethics, 2018; 11(1), 97-110.
  3. Sattler Sebastian, Escande Alice, Racine Eric, Göritz Anja S. Public stigma towards people with drug addiction: A factorial survey conducted in Germany. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 2017; 78(3), 415–425.
  4. Racine Eric, Sattler Sebastian, Escande Alice. Free will and the brain disease model of addiction: The not so seductive allure of neuroscience and its modest impact on the attribution of free will to people with addiction. Frontiers in Psychology, 2017; 8:1850.
  5. Saigle Victoria, Dubljevic Veljko, Racine Eric. The impact of a landmark neuroscience study on free will: A qualitative analysis of articles using Libet & colleagues’ methods. AJOB Neuroscience, 2018; 9(1):29-41.
  6. Racine Eric, Rousseau-Lesage Simon*. The voluntary nature of decision-making in addiction: Static metaphysical views versus epistemologically dynamic views, Bioethics, 2017; 31(5), 349-359.
  7. Racine Eric. A proposal for a scientifically-informed and instrumentalist account of free will and voluntary action. Frontiers in Psychology, 2017; 8: 754.
  8. Racine Eric, Nguyen Valentin, Saigle Victoria, Dubljevic Veljko. Media portrayal of a landmark. Neuroscience experiment on free will. Science and Engineering Ethics, 2017; 23(4), 989-1007.
  9. Racine Eric, Saigle Victoria. Static and dynamic metaphysics of free will: A pragmatic perspective. The Neuroethics Blog, the official blog of the American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience, 2014: http://www.theneuroethicsblog.com/2014/01/static-and-dynamic-metaphysics-of-free.html .