Mortal Harm and the Antemortem Experience of Death

Journal of Medical Ethics 40 (9):640-42 (2014)
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In his recent book, Death, Posthumous Harm, and Bioethics (Routeledge 2012), James Stacey Taylor challenges two ideas whose provenance may be traced all the way back to Aristotle. The first of these is the thought that death (typically) harms the one who dies (mortal harm thesis). The second is the idea that one can be harmed (and wronged) by events that occur after one’s death (posthumous harm thesis). Taylor devotes two-thirds of the book to arguing against both theses and the remainder to working out the implications of their falsity for various bioethical concerns, including euthanasia, suicide, organ procurement, etc. In this brief article, I concentrate on Taylor’s case against the mortal harm thesis and suggest that his main argument against this claim begs the question.
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First archival date: 2014-05-28
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