[SydPhil] CAVE Bioethics Reading Group: 7 March, Macquarie

Centre for Agency, Values, and Ethics arts.cave at mq.edu.au
Fri Feb 16 09:40:53 AEDT 2018

Hi all,

The CAVE Bioethics Reading Group is starting up again for the year on 7 March. The contact person for this year is Hojjat<mailto:hojjat.soofi at students.mq.edu.au>, so if you're interested in participating or would like to be on the mailing list, please contact him. All welcome!

Details for the first bioethics reading group in 2018 are as follows:

When: 7 March 2018, Wednesday
What time: 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Where: ART-AHH 2.364 North Meeting Room, Australian Hearing Hub, Macquarie University (Note the change of venue for sessions in 2018). [T14 on campus map<https://www.mq.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0016/108142/Campus-Map.pdf>]

For this session, I suggest going through Higgs & Gilleard’s “Interrogating personhood and dementia”<https://protect-au.mimecast.com/s/O0SxCzvOWKixAxrkh4XwLn?domain=doi.org>, which invites us to reconsider the promise of recent attempts to improve dementia care through person-cantered approaches. The authors are affiliated with University College London and together published a number of books<https://protect-au.mimecast.com/s/mhcBCANZvPinznRws8YnJF?domain=anthempress.com> exploring contemporary social imaginary of old age.

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.

Look forward to seeing you there!


Macquarie University Research Centre for Agency, Values and Ethics (CAVE)
Department of Philosophy
Macquarie University
Sydney, NSW 2109, Australia
CAVE website: mq.edu.au/cave<http://cave.mq.edu.au>

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