Ethical Deception? Responding to Parallel Subjectivities in People Living with Dementia

Matilda Carter


Many caregivers feel that they need to lie or withhold the truth from people living with dementia, but worry that, in doing so, they are violating a duty to tell the truth. In this article, I argue that withholding the truth from and, in limited circumstances, lying to people living with dementia is not only morally permissible, but morally required by a more general requirement that we treat each other as persons worthy of respect. I do so through an analysis of the groundings of the duty to tell the truth, and a critical reflection on its cognitively ableist construction.


Dementia; social equality; respect

Full Text:



Copyright (c) 2020 Matilda Carter

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Volume 1 through Volume 20, no. 3 of Disability Studies Quarterly is archived on the Knowledge Bank site; Volume 20, no. 4 through the present can be found on this site under Archives.

Beginning with Volume 36, Issue No. 4 (2016), Disability Studies Quarterly is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives license unless otherwise indicated. 

Disability Studies Quarterly is published by The Ohio State University Libraries in partnership with the Society for Disability Studies.

If you encounter problems with the site or have comments to offer, including any access difficulty due to incompatibility with adaptive technology, please contact

ISSN: 2159-8371 (Online); 1041-5718 (Print)