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Queen Christina's moral claim on the living: Justification of a tenacious moral intuition
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences. (Centre for bioethics)
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences. (Centre for bioethics)
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences. (Centre for bioethics)
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences. (Centre for bioethics)
2007 (English)In: Medicine, Health care and Philosophy, ISSN 1386-7423, E-ISSN 1572-8633, Vol. 10, no 3, 321-327 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In the long-running debate on the interest of the dead, Joan C. Callahan argues against such interests and although Søren Holm for practical reasons is prepared to consider posthumous interests, he does not see any moral basis to support such interests. He argues that the whole question is irresolvable, yet finds privacy interests where Tutankhamen is concerned. Callahan argues that there can be reasons to hold on to the fiction that there are posthumous interests, namely if it is comforting for the living and instrumental for society. Thus, despite arguing against the position that the dead have any interests or for any moral basis for such interests, these “interests” are still taken into consideration in the end. This shows the unsatisfactory basis of their positions and indicates the tenacity of the moral intuition that the dead can have moral claims on the living. One example of a posthumous interest is the interest in one’s good name. Here we argue that it is an interest of moral significance. This implies that if individuals restrict use of their sample when they are still alive, those restrictions apply after their death. Further, it implies that one should be concerned with the reputation of historic persons. Research that defeats these interests calls for justification. We have suggested two lines of thinking along which such a discussion could go: investigating the truth-value of the good name and the relevance of bringing it into possible disrepute.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. Vol. 10, no 3, 321-327 p.
Keyword [en]
J. C. Callahan, the dead, duties, ethics, S. Holm, posthumous interests
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-10399DOI: 10.1007/s11019-006-9044-0PubMedID: 17279433OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-10399DiVA: diva2:38167
Available from: 2007-03-22 Created: 2007-03-22 Last updated: 2017-12-11Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Duties to Past Persons: Moral Standing and Posthumous Interests of Old Human Remains
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Duties to Past Persons: Moral Standing and Posthumous Interests of Old Human Remains
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Genetic research has increasing power to analyse old biological remains. Biological traces of well-known historical persons can reveal personal information. The aim of this thesis is to investigate ethical concerns for the dead, within the biological, historical and archaeological sciences.

In philosophy there is a long-running discussion on whether or not the dead can be wronged. The good name is proposed as a candidate of a posthumous interest. It is first of all argued that slandering per se can be wrong regardless of posthumous wronging of the dead. Secondly, the concept of change is investigated. It is argued that the property of having a reputation is a relational property. Hence a change in public opinion of a dead person, is also a change in the dead person’s reputation.

The third contribution of this thesis is a constructive proposal for how a posthumous identity could be understood using narrative theory. Understanding identity through the life-story opens up the possibility of a gradual loss of identity after death, rather than absolute loss at the moment of death. Fragments of a person‘s narrative identity can persist in other peoples’ narratives, and for some historical persons, their narratives can be found long after their death.

Finally, the implications of a remaining narrative identity for the dead are investigated in the area of archaeology and museumology. In the past 30 years, there has been increasing critique about present and past discriminatory handling of old human remains by archaeologists, in museums and in other institutions. Increasing numbers of requests have been made for repatriation or reburial of old human remains. Following an analysis of three current ethical guidelines in handling old human remains, changes to these guidelines are proposed based on a narrative method to a hypothetical claim of reburial.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2010. 76 p.
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Medicine, ISSN 1651-6206 ; 557
Keyword
posthumous interests, moral standing, missing subject, archaeology, human remains, rights, dead, interests
National Category
Philosophy
Research subject
Bioethics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-122508 (URN)978-91-554-7798-1 (ISBN)
Public defence
2010-05-29, Auditoriet Minus, Gustavianum, Akademigatan 3, Uppsala, 09:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2010-05-06 Created: 2010-04-13 Last updated: 2010-05-18Bibliographically approved

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Masterton, MalinHelgesson, GertHöglund, AnnaHansson, Mats

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