Re: There's more to me than memories...

From: Larry (
Date: Wed Mar 12 2008 - 13:44:42 MDT

The threads here have been far too much to fully keep up with
lately, but I had to respond to this one. Legal responsible person
hood is a different matter from being a person. There are people
with Alzheimer's who do not form new memories, but otherwise are
functional enough that you wouldn't know they had it. I once ran
into this, a neighbor of my grand mothers looking for his car,
it had been gone for months but he expected it to be there. We had
him over for dinner, I'm quite certain that other than not forming
new long term memories of the dinner, his experience of it was not
much different than anyone elses.

In the end all our of memories go when we die, and generally fade away
well before we die. Losing memories in minutes rather than years is
just a different time scale. But the experience of being alive and
being a person is very much there even if forgotten quite quickly.

I have to argue memory is not what makes us human. Although it is
required to carry out the legal responsibilities of an adult. All
all of us really have for sure is right now, a bus hitting me 10 minutes
from now doesn't invalidate this moment.

On Wed, 12 Mar 2008, BillK wrote:

> Lost memories make you a non-person.
> In the later stages of Alzheimer's disease the patient can no longer
> look after their affairs. Someone is appointed to legally look after
> their bank account, make decisions about their property,
> accommodation, treatment, etc.
> Legally and practically they are no longer a 'person' operating in
> human society.
> Obviously this makes them very different from what they used to be.

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