From dementia-in-the-world to the human-person-perspective

Julian C. Hughes

in Thinking Through Dementia

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780199570669
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191754654 | DOI:

Series: International Perspectives in Philosophy & Psychiatry

From dementia-in-the-world to the human-person-perspective

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In this chapter, building on the Wittgensteinian analysis of Chapter 4, I have given substance to and supported the view of the person as a situated embodied agent from Chapter 2. I have suggested that this human-person-perspective is necessary for our understanding of dementia-in-the-world: it accommodates the models that shape our understanding already, but broadens the perspective to include the normativity that is a feature of our world. I have suggested that the standing of the person with acquired diffuse neurocognitive dysfunction makes him or her alienated. Carers, meanwhile, as well as people with dementia, are lost in the ‘they’, because it is so difficult to live an authentic life once it is blighted by this condition. But this sense of a life having been blighted itself arises from a sense of alienation, whereas life could be different and could be viewed differently. This would be possible if there were a revolution at the different levels that I have just sketched. We would then be able to live authentic lives. These would be lives in which we could show solidarity with people with acquired diffuse neurocognitive dysfunction and their carers. As the Nuffield Council report suggested, The concept of solidarity underpins the duty of individuals and of society to support those with dementia and their carers. It reinforces the responsibility of all of us to try to help research and to act to de-stigmatise dementia. Solidarity is relevant also to individual relationships: personal solidarity, in the form of love, loyalty and compassion, is the basis and motivation for giving care to one's partner, parent or friend. We suggest, therefore, that, under solidarity, society has a twofold obligation to provide resources and support to people with dementia and their carers: first as part of our obligations to help those who cannot readily support themselves; and secondly to enable carers to maintain their personal solidarity with the person for whom they are caring’ (Nuffield Council on Bioethics, 2009: 30, §2.44)

And the basis of the duty of solidarity stems from the idea of the common good which arises from the way we are conceptually tied together as Beings-in-the-world-of-this-kind, whose nature is to Be-with, to demonstrate solicitude towards those Others who exist as situated embodied agents in a world we conceive broadly from the human-person-perspective.

Chapter.  15061 words. 

Subjects: Psychiatry

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