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Authors: Münch, Nikolai
Müller-Salo, Johannes
Schwarz, Clara-Sophie
Title: How to conceive the dignity of the dead? : A dispositional account
Online publication date: 24-Apr-2023
Year of first publication: 2023
Language: english
Abstract: In dealing with human corpses, notions of dignity play a decisive role, especially within legal texts that regulate a corpse’s handling. However, it is quite unclear how the claim “Treat human corpses with dignity!” should be understood and justified. Drawing upon examples and problems from forensic medicine, this paper explores three possible lines of interpreting such demands: (a) positions that closely link the dignity of the human corpse to the dignity of the former living persons and (b) accounts that derive the dignity of the dead from consequentialist considerations. We argue that both lines heavily rely on contestable metaphysical claims and therefore propose an alternative account for the dignity of the dead. Our proposal (c) focuses on action-guiding attitudes and the symbolic value of the dead. Such a conception allows for a variety of morally appropriate groundings of individual attitudes. It avoids metaphysically troublesome premises and, at the same time, allows to classify certain actions and manners of acting as clearly inappropriate and blameworthy.
DDC: 610 Medizin
610 Medical sciences
Institution: Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Department: FB 04 Medizin
Place: Mainz
Version: Published version
Publication type: Zeitschriftenaufsatz
License: CC BY
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Journal: International journal of legal medicine
Version of Record (VoR)
Publisher: Springer
Publisher place: Berlin u.a.
Issue date: 2023
ISSN: 1437-1596
Publisher DOI: 10.1007/s00414-023-02991-6
Appears in collections:DFG-491381577-H

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