Can the dead be brought into disrepute?

Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 28 (2):137-149 (2007)
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Abstract

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.

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Mats J. Hansson
Uppsala Universitet

Citations of this work

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Bioethics and the Metaphysics of Death.J. S. Taylor - 2012 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 37 (5):417-424.
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References found in this work

God and the soul.Peter Thomas Geach - 2000 - London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.
Intrinsic/extrinsic.I. L. Humberstone - 1996 - Synthese 108 (2):205-267.
On Harming the dead.Joan C. Callahan - 1987 - Ethics 97 (2):341-352.
A puzzle about posthumous predication.David-Hillel Ruben - 1988 - Philosophical Review 97 (2):211-236.
Leibniz on purely extrinsic denominations.Dennis Plaisted - 2002 - Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press.

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