Memory Loss and Moral Accountablility

Is the mind the same as the body? What is consciousness? Can machines have it?

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Dunce
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Memory Loss and Moral Accountablility

Post by Dunce » Sun Jun 14, 2015 11:35 am

Is memory essential to a sense of self? If so, when someone loses memory, does he/she loose moral responsibility for actions committed before such memory loss?

I am thinking here of the case of Lord Janner
http://www.guardian.com/law/2015/may/01 ... ntia-cases

Dalek Prime
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Re: Memory Loss and Moral Accountablility

Post by Dalek Prime » Sun Jun 14, 2015 5:34 pm

I posit that memory is essential to a sense of self. It is also essential to moral, or other, learning. They are no more responsible for their actions than anyone suffering a psychotic break, or other serious mental illness.

Does it matter that they are held accountable for past deeds, when they need to be watched over anyways by society? Would punishing them serve any good? Or rehabilitation, when they can no longer learn, due to memory loss?

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Arising_uk
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Re: Memory Loss and Moral Accountablility

Post by Arising_uk » Mon Jun 15, 2015 1:29 am

Dunce wrote:Is memory essential to a sense of self? If so, when someone loses memory, does he/she loose moral responsibility for actions committed before such memory loss?

I am thinking here of the case of Lord Janner
http://www.guardian.com/law/2015/may/01 ... ntia-cases
He seems well enough to deny the charges?

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Re: Memory Loss and Moral Accountablility

Post by Dalek Prime » Mon Jun 15, 2015 1:34 am

It would be nice if the link didn't bring me to a glass manufacturer. :lol:

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Dunce
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Re: Memory Loss and Moral Accountablility

Post by Dunce » Mon Jun 15, 2015 6:57 pm

Dalek Prime wrote:It would be nice if the link didn't bring me to a glass manufacturer. :lol:
Apologies - I overlooked the importance of the word 'the'.

Try this -
http://www.theguardian.com/law/2015/may ... ntia-cases

What I was wondering was, if he were to completely lose his memory, would he even be the same person as he was when the offences were alleged to have taken place?

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Re: Memory Loss and Moral Accountablility

Post by Dalek Prime » Mon Jun 15, 2015 7:06 pm

Good question. The memories that wired the brain in a certain way are gone, but is the wiring intact? ie. Is he predisposed to behave in a similar fashion?

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Dunce
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Re: Memory Loss and Moral Accountablility

Post by Dunce » Wed Jun 17, 2015 7:31 pm

People are judged on their actual behaviour rather than behaviour they are predisposed to, although character and risk of reoffending may be considered in sentencing.

I was thinking more of questions of identity. As a forty-year old, I don't feel myself to be the same person I was when I was sixteen. I don't expect to be judged for the things I did all those years ago. If however, I had secretly committed a serious crime back then - say murder for example - I would remember it and always be considering the possibility that one day it would be discovered and that I would be called to account for it. Unless I lost my memory. What if this crime were discovered by the authorities, yet I was genuinely unable to remember it? A sense of self requires a sense of continuity. Without memory, it would feel like being held to account for someone else's actions.

If you are a subscriber, there's a good article on questions of identity here -
https://philosophynow.org/issues/62/A_Q ... f_Identity

In a curious twist, it seems there is a possibility Lord Janner may be prosecuted in Scotland. It was the Scottish Philosopher David Hume who was most famously sceptical about the whole notion of the self.

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