Ethical Theory and Moral Practice

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 181–182 | Cite as

James Stacey Taylor, Death, Posthumous Harm, and Bioethics

Routledge, New York, 2012, 228 pp. (ISBN-13: 978-0-415-51884-0) $130 Hbk
  • Justin A. CapesEmail author

Aristotle said that death is the most terrible of all things. No doubt he was mistaken about that; there are surely some things worse than death. Even so, many of us still think that death is pretty bad, both for those still living who must cope with the loss of loved ones, but especially for the person who died. There is, however, an important philosophical tradition which has its roots in the writings of Epicurus according to which death is not a harm to the one who dies. Taylor’s Death, Posthumous Harm, and Bioethicsfalls squarely within this Epicurean tradition, and is an important contribution to the growing body of literature on the nature and value of death. Taylor defends what he calls full-blooded Epicureanism, which is the conjunction of three theses: (1) the dead can’t be harmed, (2) the dead can’t be wronged, and (3) death is not a harm to the one who dies. He then applies this view to issues in bioethics, such as the procurement of organs for transplant, posthumous...

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Philosophy & HumanitiesEast Tennessee State UniversityJohnson CityUSA

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