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Philosophical issues in dementia

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Julian Hughes


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Purpose of reviewThis review aims to consider the philosophical literature from the last 18 months relevant to dementia. Philosophical thought should underpin and strengthen developments in clinical practice. For instance, deepening our thoughts about personhood should support the development of person-centred care.Recent findingsThere is relatively little work written by philosophers about dementia. But much of the writing by health and social care researchers and much empirical work in this field throws up philosophical issues. These do not solely concern personal identity, personhood and selfhood, even if the literature frequently refers to these topics. Instead we see, first, that there are other issues (around citizenship, rights, the nature of mind, of normality and of ageing) which deserve further philosophical attention and, secondly, that the discussions about personhood have moved beyond the concern that our persistence over time as individuals depends on memory to encompass a broader view which emphasizes instead the ability of people to continue to construct their life-worlds through their persisting meaningful relationships.SummaryReal interaction with people with dementia creates an increasingly nuanced account of the life-worlds of people with dementia, which should stimulate both philosophical work and clinical practice.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Hughes JC

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Current Opinion in Psychiatry

Year: 2013

Volume: 26

Issue: 3

Pages: 283-288

Print publication date: 01/05/2013

ISSN (print): 0951-7367

ISSN (electronic): 1473-6578



DOI: 10.1097/YCO.0b013e32835f675e