Sunday, October 25, 2009

Losing the Reality of the Life: Dementia's Influence on Truth

While discussing the concept of a posteriori and a priori during our discussion about Unamuno’s “The Tragic Sense of Life,” I began thinking about the experience of a patient that has dementia.

As we explained in class, a posteriori is derived from experience and a priori means independent of experience as in universally true. A posteriori are the truths that unify our lives. So I wondered what the effects would be on the truths of a dementia patient. Dementia causes loss of significant amounts of intellectual ability such as memory. Dementia patients also experience loss of judgment and many cognitive skills. Medications can be prescribed to ease anxiety and agitation. As a result of dementia, a person’s behavior can change to be more prone to anger or aggression. The patient changes permanently cause of dementia and is not the same person that he or she was before the disease. Also, dementia is thought to affect people who are usually older, above sixty years old or so. Someone that is around or above sixty years old has had important life experiences that do influence his or her life.

Dementia changes the personality of a person so a patient’s perception of his or her present life and past experiences could be very different from what has been and is the actual truth about his or her life. As a result, dementia would cause a person to become confused about his or her own life. Because of such confusion, I wonder how a patient with dementia could figure out the actual meaning of life- especially the truths that are derived from experiences, which are a posteriori.

Also, in regard to the concept of a priori, dementia would cause all of a patient’s thoughts to be erased and muddled so I was thinking whether or not a patient’s truths that are independent of experience would be changed as well. Truths that are universally true are understood and accepted by the rest of humanity with any necessary experience. So even though a dementia patient loses the experience he or she would not be able to completely relate to the universal ways of societal thinking. Therefore, I am unsure if a patient with dementia would be able to perceive a priori types of truths.

I wonder three things in regards to a dementia patient:

Would the truths that are derived from experience, a posteriori truths, change if some moments in a dementia patient’s life have been erased from memory? Also, does dementia cause the patient to cloud the impression of these truth- creating experiences which causes the patient to form a false truth about his or her own life?
Also, would dementia patients be able to perceive a priori truths if they are not able to perceive or remember the reality of life?

1 comment:

  1. Manali,

    I was just thinking about your most recent post and the questions you posed at the bottom. I personally think that yes, truths would change if memories of certain experiences have been deleted from a person's memory. If someone understands that if they don't study they will get a bad grade (most of the time) and they forget that they their bad grade was the result of them not studying in the first place, then there would be nothing (such as a jimmeny cricket), telling them that they should in fact study for their next whatever.
    I also do believe that truths can be clouded. It has been stated that humans cannot totally recall every detail of an event only 7 min after its occurrence. This being said, if someone with Dementia loses, let's say, only part of a memory, then they may, as a result, create pieces of memory to fit into the ones that they previously lost.
    To take a gander at your last thought, I do believe that they will be able to perceive "a priori" truths whether they are tuned into reality or not. For example, if someone is placed into a trance, they may not be able to realize everything that is going on around them and may not even respond to certain things however, if you light a match and place it under their hand they may not respond, but the fire is still hot and will burn the crap out of their hand.


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