In this paper I consider, in connection with dementia, two views of the person. One view of the person is derived from Locke and Parfit. This tends to regard the person solely in terms of psychological states and his/her connections. The second view of the person is derived from a variety of thinkers. I have called it the situated-embodied-agent view of the person. This view, I suggest, more readily squares with the reality of clinical experience. It regards the person as embedded in a history and culture. The human person is also an embodied agent. I contend that this view encourages a more appropriate approach towards the ethical issues that arise in dementia and towards people with dementia.
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Dr Julian C Hughes, PhD, MA, MRCPsych, is a Consultant in Old Age Psychiatry at Newcastle General Hospital, an Honorary Clinical Lecturer at Newcastle University and a Research Fellow at The Oxford Centre for Ethics and Communication in Health Care Practice (ETHOX).
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