A Moral Defense of Recreational Drug Use: Rob Lovering

Dr. Mitch Earleywine talks with College of Staten Island Associate Professor, and the Author of “A Moral Defense of Recreational Drug Use”, Rob Lovering. Rob talks about his book plus he weighs the costs of drug related bad usages such as coffee, caffeine, nicotine, alcohol that we consume regularly every day.

Lovering examines four types of argument for the view that it is – religious, nonreligious, harm-based, and non-harm-based – and contends that, by and large, they do not succeed. In this talk, he will briefly describe each type of argument and then present and critique an example of a non-harm-based argument against recreational drug use, one that he refers to as the “Instrumentalization Argument.”

While American law allows the recreational use of some drugs, such as alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine, others such as marijuana, cocaine, and heroin are painted in a different light. Why? The answer lies not simply in the harm the use of these drugs might cause, but in the perceived morality—or lack thereof—of their recreational use. Despite strong rhetoric from moral critics of recreational drug use, however, it is surprisingly difficult to discern the reasons they have for deeming the recreational use of (some) drugs morally wrong.

Lovering lays out and dissects various arguments for the immorality of using marijuana and other drugs recreationally. He contends these arguments do not succeed. Lovering’s argument is one of the first to systematically present, analyze, and critique arguments for the moral wrongness of recreational drug use. Given this, as well as the popularity of the morality-based defense of the United States’ drug laws, his is an important and timely contribution to the debate on the recreational use of drugs.