Habit-forming: Humility and the rhetoric of drugs

Kendall Gerdes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Under the influence of a reading style that Avital Ronell has called "narcoanalysis," this article performs a reading of addiction and humility through David Foster Wallace's novel Infinite Jest. Exploring both addiction and humility through the vector of habit, I argue that both habits indicate the non-self-sufficiency of a subject exposed to affection from outside. But while I position addiction alongside humility, both as habits, I also argue that humility parasitizes the totalizing logic of addictive habit. Neither identical to nor simply the opposite of addiction, humility exploits addiction's structure of uncontrollable relationality. Even addiction depends on the affectability or rhetoricity of a subject always already exposed in language. Humility holds this rhetoricity open.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)337-358
Number of pages22
JournalPhilosophy and Rhetoric
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2015


  • Addiction
  • Habit
  • Humility
  • Reading
  • Rhetoricity


Dive into the research topics of 'Habit-forming: Humility and the rhetoric of drugs'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this