The interests of the dead
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The interests of the dead book
Nothing happens to the dead. No posthumous events can in any way alter a single instant of the full scope of events that constitute a completed life. Accordingly, after death, with the removal of a subject of harms and a bearer of interests, it would seem that there can be neither “harm to” nor “interests of” the decedent. Because in such a context, these phrases (i.e., “harm to” and “interests of”) use prepositions with no objects, they are, strictly speaking, senseless. (Partridge 1981: 253)
Partridge’s stark rejection of posthumous interests rests on a simple argument: interests require an interest-bearer; after death there is no longer a subject to be a bearer of interests; therefore, there can be no interests after death. And because there are no interest-holders after death, neither, thinks Partridge, can the living have any responsibilities to the dead. To think that there are any such is to commit ourselves to the absurd judgement: “We owe X to P, and there is no P” (ibid.).