Peg O'Connor

Author: Peg O'Connor

Peg O’Connor, Ph.D. is Professor of Philosophy and Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota. Her new book, Life on the Rocks: Finding Meaning in Addiction and Recovery (Central Recovery Press, 2016) is the only book that puts western philosophy into conversation with addiction and treatment concerns. Written for the general public, it assumes no familiarity with philosophy.

Additionally, Peg O’Connor's monographs - Oppression and Responsibility (Penn State Press, 2002) and Morality and Our Complicated Form of Life (Penn State, 2008) - are two of approximately ten published books using Wittgenstein to explore moral matters.

Peg O’Connor also has two edited books. Feminist Interpretations of Ludwig Wittgenstein is part of the prestigious Re-Reading the Canon series with Penn State Press (2002). The other, Oppression, Privilege, and Resistance (McGraw Hill, 2004), explores the connections between racism, sexism, and heterosexism. She has published four essays on philosophy and addiction in The New York Times along with one in The Huffington Post.

Peg O’Connor has taught a seminar “Philosophy and Addiction” at Gustavus. She also wrote an educational curriculum about character, moral development, and actions and consequences for students who had the most serious alcohol or drug infractions on campus. In 2012, Peg O’Connor was an A.A. Heckman Fellow at the Hazelden Foundation in Center City, MN working on a manuscript that explores the influence of philosopher/psychologist William James on Alcoholics Anonymous.

She has presented her work at conferences for treatment professionals and professional philosophers. She has also appeared on The Agenda with Steve Paikin, the flagship current affairs program for Canadian public television, on topics related to addiction.

Peg O’Connor is also the Chair of the Program for the 2015 Nobel Conference at Gustavus titled, “Addiction: The Science and Experience of an Equal Opportunity Condition.”
  • M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy, University of Minnesota
  • Professor of Philosophy and Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota
  • Moral Philosophy, Philosophy of Addiction, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Feminist Philosophy
Beware the Siren Call of Drugs and Alcohol

This classic Greek myth is illuminating for understanding the call that drugs, alcohol and certain behaviors have for people who have struggled with addiction.

Self-Possession and the Art of Recovery

It is possible to identify some features of good recovery or successful remission without having to pledge allegiance to any particular side of the addiction debate.

Rural Whites, Addiction, and Despair

According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, opioid addiction is driving the increase in drug overdose deaths for all racial groups, but especially whites.

Shame is a Dangerous Therapeutic Tool

AAers have a useful acronym: FEAR, which stands for False Evidence Appearing Real. Acting on FEAR can lead to some dire consequences.

Racism and Death by Overdose: Why Whites Are Dying at a Higher Rate
What impact does race have on the incidence of ?

What role might race – and racism – play in the significant difference in increased rates of overdoses of whites and blacks?

Seniors Using and Abusing Substances: A Perfect Storm

The increasing rates of illicit drug and alcohol use by seniors has largely flown under the radar.

Choosing Life by Risking Death

Those struggling with heroin addiction must weigh the risks and rewards of a medication being used to block the drug’s high.

Addiction Is Not a Disease of Free Will

When treating addiction, why not equally support programs that target brain receptors and alternative treatments that address the psychological and social dimensions of addiction?

Forms of Self-Deception that Often Characterize Addiction

Achieving self-knowledge is already a difficult task, but the difficulty level can be particularly increased among those struggling with addiction. In fact, self-deception often goes hand-in-hand with chemical dependency.

Explanatory Frameworks for Understanding Addiction

Usually one doesn’t think about physics in the context of addiction, but there is a valuable lesson to be learned courtesy of quantum mechanics and relativity.

Why Hasn’t Disease Branding Worked for SUDs?

If disease branding works well with conditions that were previously stigmatized, then why hasn’t disease branding worked for Substance Use Disorders?

Looking for ‘Likely’ Cause of Addiction Won’t Get You Far

Johann Hari’s conclusion that good or bad environments cause addiction rests upon an assumption that addiction is all in the brain or addiction is all in the environment.

Are AA Members Responsible for Influencing Each Other’s Behaviors? Of Course

Men need to take responsibility for the prevalence of thirteenth stepping in AA. As feminists have been saying for decades, “Rape is not a women’s issue.”

Understanding Existential Concussions and Addiction

Suffering is a part of life. But, there are times when a person cannot make sense of his suffering. In the throes of it, a person experiences an existential concussion.

Philosophy as the Original Source of Self-Help

Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Living a life of active addiction is not fully living. The drugs are the primary focus in the worst throes of addiction.