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Dementia and the Boundaries of Secular Personhood

Covaleski, Nicholas (2021) Dementia and the Boundaries of Secular Personhood. Philosophy of Medicine, 2 (2). pp. 1-9. ISSN 2692-3963

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For many, dementia disrupts basic ideas about what it means to be human, raising profound philosophical and theological questions on the nature of personhood. In this article I ask what dementia might reveal about personhood in a “secular age.” I suggest that the ill-fitting relationship between Western bioethics, with its emphasis on autonomy, and dementia throws into relief the boundaries of a secular self, and I tease out the ethical implications of the limits of those boundaries by highlighting a biopolitics of secularism. Lastly, I offer a theological account of dementia that situates dependence as a central feature of the human condition, and enriches a secular biomedical understanding of this neurocognitive disorder.

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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Keywords: dementia secularism bioethics biopolitics
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Medicine
Depositing User: Professor Alex Broadbent
Date Deposited: 22 Sep 2022 13:18
Last Modified: 22 Sep 2022 13:18
Item ID: 21191
Journal or Publication Title: Philosophy of Medicine
Publisher: University Library System, University of Pittsburgh
Official URL:
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.5195/pom.2021.65
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Medicine
Date: 29 November 2021
Page Range: pp. 1-9
Volume: 2
Number: 2
ISSN: 2692-3963

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