Self-experience in Dementia

Michela Summa
Julius-Maximilians-Universität, Würzburg
This paper develops a phenomenological analysis of the disturbances of self-experience in dementia. After considering the lack of conceptual clarity regarding the notions of self and person in current research on dementia, we develop a phenomenological theory of the structure of self-experience in the first section. Within this complex structure, we distinguish between the basic level of pre-reflective self-awareness, the episodic sense of self, and the narrative constitution of the self. In the second section, we focus on dementia and argue that, despite the impairment of narrative self-understanding, more basic moments of self-experience are preserved. In accordance with the theory developed in the first part, we argue that, at least until the final stages of the illness, these self-experience in dementia goes beyond the pure minimal self, and rather entail forms of self-reference and an episodic sense of self.
Keywords Narrative Self   Episodic Self   Minimal Self   Dementia   Self-disturbances   Phenomenological Psychopathology
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DOI 10.4453/rifp.2015.0038
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