Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 153–158 | Cite as

De-constructing de-mentia: a personal and person oriented perspective of de-personalization and moral status

Julian C. Hughes: Thinking Through Dementia. Oxford University Press, New York, 2011, 312 pp, £37.58, ISBN: 978-0-19-957066-9
  • Joseph Lehmann
  • Yechiel Michael BarilanEmail author
Review Article

Julian Hughes, a geriatrician, an astute clinical observer and a philosopher has written a very impressive and much needed book on dementia. The detailed case studies (first chapter) and his practical agenda for care and research (end of ch. 9 and ch. 10) are a must-read for everybody involved in the care of the aged. The explication of the author’s Situated Embodied Agent approach is highly stimulating for everybody who is concerned with the ethical dimensions of “the human person” and “embodiment” (ch. 2 and 3). Our review will focus on the book’s central thesis—an attempt at a phenomenology of dementia and its ethical implications.

Literally, “dementia” means being out of [one’s] mind. Julian Hughes rejects this language, arguing instead for conceptualizing the range of dementia syndromes as being of different kinds of minds. Even though dementia typically involves difficulties in the biological functions of cognition, the non-demented should think through the mind of the demented,...


Dementia Moral Status Autobiographical Memory Human Person Moral Standing 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of PhilosophyTel Aviv UniversityTel AvivIsrael
  2. 2.Department of Medical Education, Sackler School of MedicineTel Aviv UniversityTel AvivIsrael

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