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Can the Dead be Brought into Disrepute?
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: Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics, ISSN 1386-7415, E-ISSN 1573-0980, Vol. 28, no 2, 137-149 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Queen Christina of Sweden was unconventional in her time, leading to hypotheses on her gender and possible hermaphroditic nature. If genetic analysis can substantiate the latter claim, could this bring the queen into disrepute 300 years after her death? Joan C. Callahan has argued that if a reputation changes, this constitutes a change only in the group of people changing their views and not in the person whose reputation it is. Is this so? This paper analyses what constitutes change and draws out the implications to the reputation of the dead. It is argued that a reputation is a relational property which can go through changes. The change is “real” for the group changing their views on Queen Christina and of a Cambridge kind for the long dead queen herself. Cambridge changes result in new properties being acquired, some of which can be of significance. Although the dead cannot go through any non-relational changes, it is possible for the dead to change properties through Cambridge changes. In this sense changes in reputation do affect the dead, and thus Queen Christina can acquire a new property, in this case possibly a worse reputation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. Vol. 28, no 2, 137-149 p.
Keyword [en]
Callahan Joan C, Cambridge change, posthumous change, relational change, relational properties
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-32571DOI: 10.1007/s11017-007-9028-yISI: 000248004700004PubMedID: 17549606OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-32571DiVA: diva2:60469
Available from: 2007-07-09 Created: 2007-07-09 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically 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, MalinHansson, MatsHöglund, AnnaHelgesson, Gert

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