Abstract for HRC’s conference

Two members of our project team (Benjamin Wegner and Nigel Brunsdon) have submitted an abstract to Harm Reduction Coalition’s National Harm Reduction Conference which is taking place in New Orleans in October. This workshop, if accepted, would use some of the responses from this website and we would be using it as an opportunity to further develop the project.

UPDATE: Unfortunately the abstract was tuned down. You can still read the abstract text below.

Harm Reduction and Philosophy: The advantages and disadvantages of philosophy for harm reduction

Harm reduction grew out of community organizing, research, and clinical practice in the last quarter of the 20th century. At the same time, many of the arguments for harm reduction echo discussions in the history of ideas, as found in pragmatism, utilitarianism, and the ancient Greek philosopher, Epicurus.

We wonder: can philosophy contribute to the harm reduction movement by exploring its ethical and ontological foundations, or is this a useless academic conversation? In what ways can we ground harm reduction in the history of ideas, while advancing a vision of social justice? How is harm reduction, like philosophy, a way of life? What are the philosophical assumptions behind slogans such as “any positive change”?

The facilitators of this workshop do not claim to have a monopoly on the truth. Rather, we want to hear what participants think about these questions, initiating a community dialogue about the advantages and disadvantages of philosophy for the harm reduction movement.

Visit the conference website

  • “The dangers of life are infinite, and among them is safety.”

  • “Harm reduction, not just for other people”

    Urban Survivors’ Union
  • “Be curious, not judgemental.”

    Walt Whitman
  • “No pleasure is a bad thing in itself, but the things which produce certain pleasures entail harms many times greater than the pleasures themselves.”