Philosophical Reflections on Narrative and Deep Brain Stimulation

Journal of Clinical Ethics 21 (2):133-139 (2010)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Deep brain stimulation (DBS) has in some cases been associated with significant psychological effects and/or personality change. These effects occur sometimes as acute changes experienced intraoperatively or during the initial setting of the stimulator and sometimes as longer term progressive changes in the months following surgery. Sometimes they are the intended outcome of treatment, and in other cases they are an unintended side-effect. In all of these circumstances some patients and caregivers have described the psychological effects of DBS as frightening or disconcerting. I trace the source of these negative reactions to the fear that stimulation-related psychological and personality changes represent a threat to personal identity and agency. This issue has implications both for philosophical theories of personal identity and agency and for clinical concerns. A narrative account of personal identity is developed to illuminate the nature of the threat to identity and agency DBS potentially poses, and to suggest steps that might be taken to mitigate and avoid these threats.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 86,168

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

The Gold-Plated Leucotomy Standard and Deep Brain Stimulation.Grant Gillett - 2011 - Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 8 (1):35-44.
Stimulating brains, altering minds.W. Glannon - 2009 - Journal of Medical Ethics 35 (5):289-292.


Added to PP

154 (#103,135)

6 months
11 (#107,309)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?