Against Posthumous Rights



A number of prominent nonconsequentialists support the thesis that we can wrong the dead by violating their moral claims. In contrast, this study suggests that the arguments offered by Thomson, Scanlon, Dworkin, Feinberg and others do not warrant posthumous rights because having claim-grounding interests requires an entity to have the capacity to experience significance. If dead people don't have this capacity, there is no reason to attribute claims to them. Raising doubts about prominent hypothetical examples of ‘no-effect injury’, the study concludes that nonconsequentialists should consider adopting an error theory regarding posthumous claims, and suggests two alternative explanations of the relevant moral domains.