David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Bioethics 23 (8):441-449 (2009)
The purpose of this article is not to affirm or deny particular philosophical positions, but to explore the limits of intelligibility about what post-mortem harm means, especially in the light of improper post-mortem procedures at Bristol and Alder Hey hospitals in the late 1990s. The parental claims of post-mortem harm to dead children at Alder Hey Hospital are reviewed from five different philosophical perspectives, eventually settling on a crucial difference of perspective about how we understand harm to the dead. On the one hand there is the broadly 'analytical' tradition1 of thinking that predicates the notion of harm on the basis of an existing subject. Since the dead are non-existent persons, it makes little sense to view the dead as being harmed. On the other hand, there is a phenomenological perspective, where the dead, in respect to the experience of grief, are existentially absent. This forms the basis that it is possible to harm grieving parent's experiences of how their dead are treated. The article ends with a short examination of what harming the dead implies for traditional bioethical concerns, namely, obtaining informed consent from significant others when planning medical research on the newly dead.
|Keywords||analytical philosophy ante‐mortem harm existential absence post‐mortem harm grief phenomenology|
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References found in this work BETA
Fred Feldman (1991). Some Puzzles About the Evil of Death. Philosophical Review 100 (2):205-227.
Donna Dickenson & Guy Widdershoven (2001). Ethical Issues in Limb Transplants. Bioethics 15 (2):110–124.
Mark R. Wicclair (2002). Informed Consent and Research Involving the Newly Dead. Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 12 (4):351-372.
T. M. Wilkinson (2001). Parental Consent and the Use of Dead Children's Bodies. Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 11 (4):337-358.
Citations of this work BETA
Fiona K. O’Neill (2009). Giving From Our Bodily Belongings: Is Donation an Appropriate Paradigm for the Giving of Bodies and Body Parts? [REVIEW] HEC Forum 21 (2):151-174.
Divine Ndonbi Banyubala (forthcoming). Posthumous Organ Retention and Use in Ghana: Regulating Individual, Familial and Societal Interests. Health Care Analysis:1-20.
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