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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Ethics of Erasing Bad Memories

By​ Cody C. Delistraty
The Atlantic
Originally published May 15, 2014

Here is an excerpt:

“I think we can change some memories without changing fundamentally who we are or how we behave,” said Caplan, who is also the editor of Contemporary Debates in Bioethics. “And even if it does change a little bit of our personal identity, it makes us able to function. We have to understand the plight of those who are prisoners to bad memories, to awful memories, to horrible memories.”

Although, as Caplan said, tragic memories can potentially make us prisoners to ourselves, it is worthwhile to note that our personalities are made up of a delicate interplay of memories. Many experts believe that to disrupt one memory runs the risk of disrupting everything.

“Our memories and our experiences are fundamental to our personhood, to our lives, to everything that makes us who we are,” said Dr. Judy Illes, professor of neurology and Canada research chair in neuoroethics at the University of British Columbia. “When you pull one brick out of the wall of memories, many other memories go with it. Memories are incredibly interlocked with one another.”

The entire article is here.