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Interrogating personhood and dementia

Higgs, P; Gilleard, C; (2016) Interrogating personhood and dementia. Aging & Mental Health , 20 (8) pp. 773-780. 10.1080/13607863.2015.1118012. Green open access

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Objectives: To interrogate the concept of personhood and its application to care practices for people with dementia. Method: We outline the work of Tom Kitwood on personhood and relate this to conceptualisations of personhood in metaphysics and in moral philosophy. Results: The philosophical concept of personhood has a long history. The metaphysical tradition examines the necessary and sufficient qualities that make up personhood such as agency, consciousness, identity, rationality and second-order reflexivity. Alternative viewpoints treat personhood as a matter of degree rather than as a superordinate category. Within moral philosophy personhood is treated as a moral status applicable to some or to all human beings. Conclusion: In the light of the multiple meanings attached to the term in both metaphysics and moral philosophy, personhood is a relatively unhelpful concept to act as the foundation for developing models and standards of care for people with dementia. Care, we suggest, should concentrate less on ambiguous and somewhat abstract terms such as personhood and focus instead on supporting people's existing capabilities, while minimising the harmful consequences of their incapacities.

Type: Article
Title: Interrogating personhood and dementia
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/13607863.2015.1118012
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13607863.2015.1118012
Language: English
Additional information: © 2015 The Author(s). Published by Taylor & Francis. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/Licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Permission is granted subject to the terms of the License under which the work was published. Please check the License conditions for the work which you wish to reuse. Full and appropriate attribution must be given. This permission does not cover any third party copyrighted material which may appear in the work requested.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Division of Psychiatry
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1476792
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