In choosing to do certain things, we appear to presuppose that we can act in the interests the dead, and that we have a duty to do so. For example, some of us go to great lengths to carry out their final wishes. Given that the dead no longer exist, however, it seems that nothing can be good or bad for them: they lack prudential interests. In that case, it is hard to see how we could owe them anything. They seem to lack moral standing altogether. In this essay, I will rebut this line of thought. I will claim that in some cases things that happen after people die are indeed good or bad for them. Their interests can still be advanced or hindered, so the dead have moral standing.
Document Object Identifier (DOI)
Luper, S. (2018). The moral standing of the dead. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 373(1754), 1-6. doi:10.1098/rstb.2017.0270
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences