An investigation into truthfulness as a moral norm in dementia care

August 19, 2019
Australian Catholic University

17 Blue Street
North Sydney
Australia

This will be an accessible event, including organized related activities

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Australian Catholic University

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This one-day workshop will bring together scholars from philosophy, psychiatry, cognitive science, and clinical neuropsychology (among others), to discuss questions of truthfulness and authenticity in dementia care. While we typically view truth-telling as a moral norm of discourse, implicitly recognising that untruthfulness undermines epistemic autonomy, this norm is not always observed in the context of caring for and relating to people with dementia. For example: by suggesting that a loved one has visited recently, while knowing this to be untrue; by playing a recording of a loved one’s voice on a telephone, presenting it as a ‘live’ conversation; or by stylistically presenting a care home with domestic interiors that are intended to disguise the institutional nature of the setting (e.g., Hogeway Dementia Village in the Netherlands). Yet there can be moral reasons supporting such practices, reasons deriving from respect for, and the well being of, persons with dementia and their families. In this workshop we will investigate these questions from a philosophical perspective with possible topics to include (but not limited to) the limits of untruthful speech, caregiver relationships, intimacy and truthfulness, the authenticity of care environments, holding persons in dignity and identity when their self-concept remains frozen in the past, the question of whether untruthfulness undermines respect for the role of care-giving, and the question of truthfulness and stigma.

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August 12, 2019, 9:00am +10:00

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