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Pace University

Elisabeth Haub School of Law Faculty Publications

2021

Dementia

Medical Jurisprudence

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Full-Text Articles in Law

"As Long As I'M Me": From Personhood To Personal Identity In Dementia And Decision-Making, James Toomey Jan 2021

"As Long As I'M Me": From Personhood To Personal Identity In Dementia And Decision-Making, James Toomey

Elisabeth Haub School of Law Faculty Publications

As people, especially older people, begin to develop dementia, we confront ethical questions about when and how to intervene in their increasingly compromised decision-making. The prevailing approach in philosophically-inclined bioethics to tackling this challenge has been to develop theories of “decision-making capacity” based on the same characteristics that entitle the decisions of moral persons to respect in general. This Article argues that this way of thinking about the problem has missed the point. Because the disposition of property is an identity-dependent right, what matters in dementia and decision-making is an individual’s personal identity with their prior self, not their moral …