Ante-Mortem and Post-Mortem Conundrums: An Ethical Analysis of the Pitcher-Feinberg Approach
Caramori Rossi, V.
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Is the Pitcher-Feinberg approach in defence of posthumous harm convincing, when applied to ethical theory and practical cases of supposed harm against the dead? Because of semantic issues, the debate about the treatment of the dead can be quite unclear. However, one critique against the Pitcher-Feinberg approach proves to be one of the most influential inside of the debate: Joan Callahan's theory. In this thesis I will defend the Pitcher-Feinberg approach against her critiques, by showing that her counterarguments have fallacies both from a theoretical viewpoint, and a practical viewpoint. The Pitcher-Feinberg approach has one main problem: its formulation can be quite vague. However, if we introduce the additional notions of autonomy, informed consent, and dignity (which are mainly used as a moral basis for the justice system, when debating the rights of the dead), we will see that these can corroborate the approach. Finally, I will test the Pitcher-Feinberg approach by applying it to four real life cases of posthumous harm: (a) Body Worlds and Bodies: the Exhibition, (b) the Negro of Banyoles, (c) Doris Stauffer and (d) Jennifer Gable. Confronting the approach, through the help of the additional notions aforementioned, with these four real life cases, shows that the Pitcher-Feinberg approach is consistent both with ethical theory and practical cases of posthumous harm.