Journal of Philosophical Research

Volume 33, 2008

James Stacey Taylor
Pages 185-202

Harming the Dead

It is widely accepted that a person can be harmed by events that occur after her death. The most influential account of how persons can suffer such posthumous harm has been provided by George Pitcher and Joel Feinberg. Yet, despite its influence (or perhaps because of it) the Feinberg-Pitcher account of posthumous harm has been subject to several well-known criticisms. Surprisingly, there has been no attempt to defend this account of posthumous harm against these criticisms, either by philosophers who work on the metaphysics of death or by those who draw upon this account of posthumous harm in their work in other philosophical fields. This paper will rectify this omission, by defending this view against the criticisms it has been subject to—a defense that will both be of intrinsic interest to those who work on the metaphysics of death and that will remedy the lacunae in the wide-ranging philosophical literature that draws upon this account of how posthumous harm is possible.