- Introduction: Philosophy of Death
- When Do Things Die?
- Death and the Disintegration of Personality
- The Person and the Corpse
- Personal Identity and the Survival of Death
- The Evil of Death: What Can Metaphysics Contribute?
- Death and Eternal Recurrence
- Death in Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle
- When Death Is There, We Are Not: Epicurus on Pleasure and Death
- The Badness of Death and the Goodness of Life
- The Symmetry Problem
- The Timing Problem
- Death, Value, and Desire
- Death and Rational Emotion
- Retroactive Harms and Wrongs
- The Makropulos Case RevisitedReflections on Immortality and Agency
- The Wrongness of Killing and the Badness of Death
- Abortion and Death
- The Morality of Killing in War: Some Traditional and Nontraditional Views
- The Significance of Death for Animals
- Capital Punishment
Abstract and Keywords
This chapter examines the concept of the so-called retroactive harms and wrongs related to death, explaining the principle of the immunity thesis which holds that nothing that happens after we are dead harms or benefits us. It presents a case against the existence of proactively harmful postmortem events and argues that an action taken after people die may wrong them retroactively by harming them or by interfering with their desires while they are alive.
Steven Luper chairs the philosophy department at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. His books include The Philosophy of Death (Cambridge University Press 2009) and Invulnerability: On Securing Happiness (Open Court 1996), and he is presently editing the Cambridge Companion to Life and Death (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming). Among his essays are “Annihilation” (Philosophical Quarterly 1985), “The Absurdity of Life” (Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 1992), “Exhausting Life” (Journal of Ethics: An International Philosophical Review, forthcoming), and “Adaptation,” to appear in The Metaphysics and Ethics of Death (Oxford University Press, forthcoming).
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