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Durham University

Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS)

Members

The list below shows Durham University research staff who are members of IMEMS. Click the member's name to see a more detailed biography and department.

We also welcome anyone from outside the University with an interest in our work to join. Membership is free of charge. You will receive invitations to our programme of events, with a weekly emails digest about what is happening in the Insitute and further afield. To join IMEMS contact: admin.imems@durham.ac.uk

Publication details for Professor Geoffrey Scarre

Scarre, Geoffrey (2013). Privacy and the Dead. Philosophy in the Contemporary World 19(1): 1-16.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

The privacy of the dead might be thought to be violated by, for instance, the disinterment for research purposes of human physical remains or the posthumous revelation of embarrassing facts about people's private lives. But are there any moral rights to privacy which extend beyond the grave? Although this notion can be challenged on the ground that death marks the end of the personal subject, with the consequent extinction of her interests, I argue that a right to privacy belongs to deceased persons in virtue of their moral status while alive and reflects their interest in the preservation of their dignity. The paper investigates what prima-facie privacy rights and interests may plausibly be ascribed to the dead and why these need to be taken seriously by those, such as archaeologists or biographers, who have "dealings with the dead."