Knowledge Questions: What role does memory play in our lives? What is the relationship between memory and personal identity? To what extent are our memories reliable?
“The ‘real you’ is a myth – we constantly create false memories to achieve the identity we want”
When we create personal narratives, we rely on a psychological screening mechanism, dubbed the monitoring system, which labels certain mental concepts as memories, but not others. Concepts that are rather vivid and rich in detail and emotion – episodes we can re-experience – are more likely to be marked as memories.
Dementia undermines all of our philosophical assumptions about the coherence of the self. But that might be a good thing
Dementia is troubling because, at the same time as it erodes someone’s memory, it also eats away at this capacity to create shared meaning. If someone cannot remember not just where the milk bottle goes, but what a milk bottle is for, then the shared pre-suppositions on which communication, meaning and identity depend become badly strained.