David Boonin’s latest book, Dead Wrong: The Ethics of Posthumous Harm, has been published by Oxford University Press. In this book, Professor Boonin defends the thesis that it is possible for an act to wrongfully harm a person, even if the act takes place after the person is dead. The argument rests on three central claims. First, that it is possible for an act to wrongfully harm a person while they are alive even if the act has no effect on that person's conscious experiences. Second, that if this is so, then frustrating a person's desires is one way to wrongfully harm a person. And third, that if this is so, then it is possible for an act to wrongfully harm a person even if the act takes place after the person is dead. Over the course of the book, Professor Boonin introduces the significance of posthumous harm, deals with each of his three main claims in turn, responds to objections that might be raised against the book's thesis, and examines some of the ethical implications for issues such as posthumous organ and gamete removal, posthumous publication of private documents, damage to graves and corpses, and posthumous punishment and restitution.
This is Professor Boonin’s second book to be published this year. Earlier in the year, Oxford University Press published his Beyond Roe: Why Abortion Should be Legal Even if the Fetus is a Person.