73.301.01 - DRUGS, CONSCIOUSNESS, AND HUMAN FULFILLMENT
Wednesdays, 8:30 AM to 11:10 AM
Beeghly Hall, Room 1
Faculty: Dr. Jeffrey A. Schaler
Office: Nebraska Hall, Second Floor
Telephone: (301) 585-5664 in Silver Spring, Md.
Office hours: (by appointment)
Most people believe alcohol and illegal drugs cause addiction. They believe addiction is involuntary and characterized by "loss of control" over alcohol and drug consumption. They also believe addiction is a treatable disease. If you challenge those ideas, you are likely to be labeled ignorant at best and a heretic at worst. In this course you will become aware of the fiction about drugs and addiction masquerading as fact, and the fact about drugs and addiction most people regard as fiction.
In the first part of the course we examine the accurate versus inaccurate definitions of addiction. We review the substantial empirical evidence showing people use drugs to change their consciousness for existential and psychological reasons, not necessarily chemical or biological ones. And we investigate the claim addiction is a treatable disease.
In the second half of the course we look at the religio-moral-ethical basis of drug use, e.g. how alcohol and drug use becomes a Rcentral activityS in a person's life--and why. We review how illegal mind- altering drugs and their users are victims of religious and political persecution. And, drawing on philosophical, psychoanalytic, sociological, and psychological perspectives offered by Ernest Becker and Ron Leifer, M.D., we investigate the existential basis of why people choose to use drugs as a way to try and escape reality. The semester ends with a focus on what it means to be an autonomous, "heroic," or "self-actualized" person.
Lecture and discussion format.
Required Texts and Readings Becker, E. (1997). The denial of death. New York: Free Press.
Fingarette, H. (1988). Heavy drinking: The myth of alcoholism as a disease. Berkeley, Ca. Univ. of Ca. Press.
Peele, S. (1988). Visions of addiction: Major contemporary perspectives on addiction and alcoholism. Lexington, MA.: Lexington Books.
Schaler, J.A. (1991). Drugs and free will. Society, 28, 42-49.
Schaler, J.A. (1996). Thinking about drinking: The power of self-fulfilling prophecies. International Journal of Drug Policy, 7, 187-192.
Schaler, J.A. (1997). The case against alcoholism as a disease. In W. Shelton R.B. Edwards (Eds.) Values, ethics, and alcoholism, pp. 21-49 (Advances in bioethics Volume 3) Greenwich, Ct.: JAI Press Inc.
Szasz, T. (1985). Ceremonial chemistry: The ritual persecution of drugs, addicts, and pushers. Revised edition. Holmes Beach, Fl.: Learning Publications, Inc.
Zimmer, L. and Morgan, J.P. (1997). Marijuana myths marijuana facts: A review of the scientific evidence. New York: The Lindesmith Center.
First position paper 10% Mid-term examination 30% Second position paper 10% Final examination 45% Class participation 5% Total = 100%
First position paper: Three typewritten pages max. You are to argue that drugs cause addiction, that addiction is involuntary, and that treatment for addiction works--and why a course like this is dangerous for college students.
Second position paper: Three typewritten pages max. You are to write about how your views on drugs and consciousness have changed or not changed since you've been in this class.
CLASS SCHEDULE Date Topic Reading January 21 Myths of alcoholism Fingarette, Part 1 All Schaler handouts January 28 Drinking as way of life Finish Fingarette/ Schaler February 4 What addiction is Peele 1-4 amp isn't; #1 Paper due Models amp paradigms February 11 Conditioning amp Peele 5-7 biobehavioral ideas; drugz are us February 18 New ways of thinking Peele 8-10 about addiction February 25 Marijuana myths Zimmer amp Morgan 1-10 March 4 Marijuana facts Zimmer amp Morgan 8-20 March 11 Mid-term Examination Essay March 18 Spring Break - No Class March 25 Drugs as scapegoat Szasz ix-60 April 1 Drugs as magic Szasz 61-124 April 8 Drugs amp fear of death Finish Szasz; Becker ix-124 April 15 Metaphorical drugs Becker 125-252 April 22 Heroism, purpose amp meaning in life Becker 253-end April 29 #2 position paper due May 13 Final Examination 8:30am to Essay 11:00am
* Clear and accurate writing will be taken into account in assigning grades, as well as participation in class discussions. Material discussed in class, or in films, and not in any of the readings, may form the basis for questions on the examinations. One grade reduction for over three class absences. Students are responsible for anything covered in class during their absence. Readings must be completed by the session to which they are assigned. Additional readings may be assigned during the course. Students are encouraged to form study groups on their own. Grades: A-=90, B+=89, B-=80, C+=79, C-=70
Academic Integrity Code
"Standards of academic conduct are set forth in the University's Academic Integrity Code. It is expected that all examinations, tests, written papers, and other assignments will be completed according to the standards set forth in this code. By registering, you have acknowledged your awareness of the Academic Integrity Code, and you are obliged to become familiar with your rights and responsibilities as defined by the Code. Violations of the Academic Integrity Code will not be treated lightly, and disciplinary action will be taken should such violations occur. Please see me if you have any questions about the academic violations described in the Code in general or as they relate to particular require-ments for this course."
© Copyright Jeffrey A. Schaler, 1997-2002 unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved.