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Speaking of the dead

Scarre, Geoffrey

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Geoffrey Scarre


Many people think that the reputations of the dead should be treated with respect, though this position is hard to defend if dead people are not only unconscious of what is said about them but also non-existent. In this paper, I examine first some unsuccessful arguments for holding that the dead are wronged by slander or denigration and ask what kind of civilised values are at issue when we speak about dead people. Subsequently I propose an alternative account which identifies the ante-mortem person as the real subject of posthumous slander. One important implication of this view is that moral status does not decline with time, so that failing to respect a dead person's good name is equally wrong whether she is long-dead or only recently deceased.


Scarre, G. (2012). Speaking of the dead. Mortality, 17(1), 36-50.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Feb 1, 2012
Deposit Date Feb 23, 2012
Publicly Available Date Jul 24, 2014
Journal Mortality
Print ISSN 1357-6275
Electronic ISSN 1469-9885
Publisher Taylor and Francis Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 17
Issue 1
Pages 36-50
Keywords The dead, Reputation, Posthumous slander, Ante-mortem persons, Kant, Pitcher, Feinberg.


Accepted Journal Article (291 Kb)

Copyright Statement
This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in Mortality on 02/02/2012, available online at:

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