Pub. Date:
Oxford University Press, USA
Dementia: Mind, Meaning, and the Person

Dementia: Mind, Meaning, and the Person


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Dementia: Mind, Meaning, and the Person

Dementia is an illness that raises important questions about our own attitudes to illness and aging. It also raises very important issues beyond the bounds of dementia to do with how we think of ourselves as people—fundamental questions about personal identity. Is the person with dementia the same person he or she was before? Is the individual with dementia a person at all? In a striking way, dementia seems to threaten the very existence of the self.
This book brings together philosophers and practitioners to explore the conceptual issues that arise in connection with this increasingly common illness. Drawing on a variety of philosophers such as Descartes, Lock, Hume, Wittgenstein, the authors explore the nature of personal identity in dementia. They also show how the lives and selfhood of people with dementia can be enhanced by attention to their psychological and spiritual environment. Throughout, the book conveys a strong ethical message, arguing in favor of treating people with dementia with all the dignity they deserve as human beings. The book covers a range of topics, stretching from talk of basic biology to talk of a spiritual understanding of people with dementia. Accessibly written by leading figures in psychiatry and philosophy, the book presents a unique and long overdue examination of an illness that features in so many of our lives.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780198566144
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date: 03/31/2006
Series: International Perspectives in Philosophy and Psychiatry Series
Pages: 326
Product dimensions: 9.30(w) x 6.30(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Dr. Julian C. Hughes is currently the Chair of the Philosophy Special Interest Group of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. Dr. Stephen J. Louw is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of South Africa, of the Royal College of Physicians of London, and of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh. He is currently Vice Chair of the UK Network for Clinical Ethics Committees. He was formerly Professor of Geriatric Medicine in the University of Cape Town. Prof. Steven R. Sabat is Associate Editor of Dementia: The International Journal of Social Research and Practice. He has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Greater Washington, D.C. chapter of the Alzheimer's Disease Association and has been a Co-Leader of a support group for people with Alzheimer's Disease.

Table of Contents

1. Seeing whole, Julian C Hughes, Stephen J Louw & Steven R Sabat
2. Ageing and human nature, Michael Bavidge
3. Dementia and personal identity, Harry Lesser
4. Identity: self and dementia, John McMillan
5. Into the darkness: losing identity with dementia, Jennifer Radden & Joan M Fordyce
6. Can the self disintegrate? Personal identity, psychopathology and disunities of consciousness, E Jonathan Lowe
7. Keeping track, autobiography and the conditions for self erosion, Michael Luntley
8. The discursive turn, social constructionism and dementia, Tim Thornton
9. The return of the living dead: agency lost and found?, Carmelo Aquilina & Julian C Hughes
10. Dementia and the identity of the person, Eric Matthews
11. Meaning-making in dementia: a hermeneutic perspective, Guy A M Widdershoven & Ron L P Berghmans
12. I am, thou art: personal identity in dementia, Catherine Oppenheimer
13. Spiritual perspectives on the person with dementia: identity and personhood, F Brian Allen & Peter G Coleman
14. 'Respectare': moral respect for the lives of the deeply forgetful, Stephen G Post
15. Understandings of dementia: explanatory models and their implications for the person with dementia and therapeutic effort, Murna Downs, Linda Clare & Jenny Mackenzie
16. Personhood and interpersonal communication in dementia, Lisa Snyder
17. From childhood to childhood? Autonomy and dependence through the ages of life, Harry Cayton
18. Mind, meaning and personhood in dementia: the effects of positioning, Steven R Sabat

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