In search of the missing subject: narrative identity and posthumous wronging
2010 (English)In: Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, ISSN 1369-8486, E-ISSN 1879-2499, Vol. 41, no 4, 340-346 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
With the advanced methods of analysing old biological material, it is pressing to discuss what should be allowed to be done with human remains, particularly for well documented historical individuals. We argue that Queen Christina of Sweden, who challenged the traditional gender roles, has an interest in maintaining her privacy when there are continued attempts to reveal her ‘true’ gender. In the long-running philosophical debate on posthumous wronging, the fundamental question is: Who is wronged? Our aim is to find this ‘missing subject’ using narrative theory.
Narrative identity emphasises the fact that no person is alone in knowing or telling their life story. People’s lives are entangled and parts of the life story of a deceased person can remain in the living realm. Since the narrative identity of a person does not necessarily end upon their death, and this narrative continues to relate directly to the person who once existed, it is the narrative subject that can continue to be posthumously wronged. Queen Christina can no longer maintain her own identity, but we maintain it by our research into her life. We propose three duties relevant for posthumous wronging: the duty of truthfulness, the duty of recognition and the duty to respect privacy.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 41, no 4, 340-346 p.
narrative theory, personal identity, posthumous identity, posthumous rights, historical person, privacy
Research subject Bioethics
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-122505DOI: 10.1016/j.shpsc.2010.10.010OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-122505DiVA: diva2:310370
ProjectsDuties to Past Persons