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Dignity and exclusion
  1. Steve Matthews
  1. Plunkett Centre for Ethics, Australian Catholic University, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Steve Matthews, Philosophy, Australian Catholic University, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia; Stephen.Matthews{at}

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Soofi1 aims to develop an account of dignity in dementia care based on Nussbaum’s capabilities approach. He does this by drawing on the Kitwood and Bredin2 list of well-being indicators, in order to fill out her account of human flourishing to cover aspects such as practical reasoning that appear beyond the reach of those with relatively severe dementia. As Soofi points out, Nussbaum’s claim that such lost abilities can be compensated through guardianship measures is implausible. He asserts in response that his account of dignity is sufficient to address the desiderata he sets out at the start, including especially the problem of exclusionary implications any putative account should address. So far, so good, but an objection Soofi raises for his own account is that it seems unable to cover cases of severe late-stage dementia. His response is,

…that there is insufficient factual evidence to suggest that people at the very advanced stages of dementia lose all capabilities. But for the sake of argument, let’s suppose that this is true. This, however, still does not undermine the conceptual rigour of the modified version of Nussbaum’s account. This is because the list of the dementia-specific capabilities that I …

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  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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