• intrapersona
    558
    This topic came up at a party last night and it stumped me. I tried to argue that a person's intention continues beyond their death because their consciousness was part of the universe which is a larger framework in time, so that any intentions carry forward throughout time. But you might then ask, if they change their intention or desires throughout their life, then what would carry forward?

    So, if a person lives majority of their life with the desire to be an organ donor upon death and then 5 minutes before they die they change their mind and don't tell anyone about it... Is it disrespectful to take their organs if no one knew? I would say yes because intention carries forward as if there was some objective system of judgement upon all actions (not saying there is such a thing, but AS IF there was such a thing), but many would say intentions don't matter as they get obliterated along with all consciousness and eventually physical form upon a person's annihilation.

    This topic is taboo for many reasons:

    1. It's considered disrespectful to the dead, especially if they did not consent before death. (topic in question)

    2.Decomposing bodies are extremely unsanitary and generally disgusting. Fresh bodies maybe not so much but whatever.

    3. It sexualises death, which is considered very wrong.

    4.It may encourage people to kill people they find attractive in order to be a necrophiliac with them.

    5.It's fucked, basically.
  • Nils Loc
    483
    The death of a loved can be tough. The normative treatments we have surrounding the disposal of the deceased is there to mollify or mitigate harm. Though one might argue in some strange sense that the same normative treatment actually causes more harm when things don't go according to plan, or in other words, we're culturally conditioned to respond to death in a certain way but that way can change.

    Check out Lo and Behold, documentary film by Werner Herzog. There is an example of emotional harm done to the memory of the deceased in it.

    There are some African nations were it is normal to dress the dead up as a sort of manikin, posed as if they were doing what they were known for or liked in life, in spite of decomposition.

    Somewhere in Papua New Guinea there was a practice of mummifying dead by smoke and minerals and posing them in houses or in rocky niches. From our point of view it is grizzly but it was quite normal at some point in time. Be warned if you go searching for pictures. It's grotesque.
  • intrapersona
    558


    That is similar to how we dress up bodies for an open casket funeral, but we aren't really analysing the thread subject now are we? Unless you are trying to say that because other cultures do it, it their rights may continue past death... but I don't think you are doing that.

    Interesting Werner Herzog video tho thanks, however unrelated it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=41OL5bUHGsY
  • Nils Loc
    483
    Well, you might want to do some research about the rights of dead people.

    Slate: Habeas Corpses: What are the rights of dead people?

    Whether or not we should respect the wishes of the deceased depends upon the law and culturally relative (normative) treatments for the deceased.

    There is probably a law against being buried in your own back yard. You'll probably get arrested if you try to dispose of a dead body on your own.

    A dead person has no intent really. It all comes down on how it affects the living who have to manage the deceased.
  • intrapersona
    558
    Whether or not we should respect the wishes of the deceased depends upon the law and culturally relative (normative) treatments for the deceased.Nils Loc

    I am not concerned about law or culturally appropriate treatments unless they have something to say upon the reasoning for thinking or not thinking a person's will continues past their death. In current culture it looks like people are in two minds simultaneously about it, as in, they do and do not have a will past their death.

    A dead person has no intent really. It all comes down on how it affects the living who have to manage the deceased.Nils Loc

    You say a dead person has no intent but you offer no reasons as to why that is, even despite the original post being about that specifically. Why has a dead person no intent? And like I asked in my OP does a person intent not carry forward past their death?
  • Nils Loc
    483
    If a legal document called a will is said to represent the intent of the deceased then such a person's intent does carry beyond death but only regarding very limited instructions contained in said document, subject to laws and means of those who stand to inherit assets or carry out the wishes of the deceased.

    A will is just one kind of vehicle for carrying on the intent of the dead though. One could imagine all kinds of creative schemes someone might intend to have carried out after their death. If they've planned well enough then maybe such purposes could be carried out in a very literal and non-interpretive manner such that it accords perfectly with their wishes.

    Or maybe you'd prefer to believe that the ghost of the deceased hangs around and causes actions which the living would conventionally regard as happenstance. Only special folks can commune with them to pass on their intent to the living.

    I've a dead guy right now, whispering in my ear, telling me all about how he intends to go to heaven and that he needs my help to do it.
  • TheMadFool
    3.4k
    You might find this interesting: Henrietta Lacks
  • intrapersona
    558


    If i was to have sex with a piece of fruit, would that be unethical?

    But what a person will says on paper is different from an actual will that exists after death metaphysically or at least abstractly somehow in the world. If I can infer from your ludacris suggestions about ghosts that you are insinuating it is completely absurd to think that a person's will goes beyond their death APART from that in their legal documents, then you sir have indirectly just suggested that necrophilia is an ethical act. Now of course it is an unlawful act, but unlawful acts don't necessitate that they be unethical. For a dead person's body would be just as inanimate and unconscious as the rocks or the ocean water or the clouds or a piece of fruit. If i was to have sex with a piece of fruit, would that be unethical?
  • intrapersona
    558


    You're right that was interesting. But how is some 20th century african chicks immortal cancer cells relevant here? A person's mutated cells don't really count as that person's will do they? I was meaning intentionality carried forward through metaphysics of some kind, or a collective unconscious awareness of that intention in to which all humans form a part. Now as I said in the post above, if you deny that such a thing exist then necrophilia must be ethical.
  • TheMadFool
    3.4k
    Well, even alive we don't have 100% right over our bodies. Drugs are illegal. Suicide is illegal. So, it seems quite natural to infer that death should render all rights null and void.

    That aside, I don't think it's necessary for any metaphysical continuation, á la soul, to legitimize the right of a dead person over the body.
  • Nils Loc
    483
    If i was to have sex with a piece of fruit, would that be unethical? — intrapersona

    It depends on the circumstances of a specific act and normative attitudes and customs govering our behavior. Say you're boning a piece of fruit and forcing a 4 year old to watch, or doing it in public. If it happens in the privacy of your closet, with consenting adults, I don't see it causing any harm. There are certain types of behavior that approach taboo status. No amount of reasoning about actual or perceived harm is going to shift attitudes in favor of necrophilia.

    A 2008 court case in Wisconsin didn't have any anti-necrophilia laws on the books but prosecution used a "consent" based argument. The corpse didn't give consent, couldn't give consent, and the defendant ended up being found guilty by argument that a more lenient verdict would interfere with charging rapists who happen to murder their victims in the process of their crime. It wasn't a great argument apparently, and the defendant only intended to have sex with a corpse but the verdict shows the obvious disgust such an act engenders in us.

    It doesn't follow that because a corpse has no intent that it is therefore ethical to engage in necrophilia. There are always third parties standing by to be offened, to penalize you, to signal to others the consequence of such acts and to shape social standards.
  • intrapersona
    558
    That aside, I don't think it's necessary for any metaphysical continuation, á la soul, to legitimize the right of a dead person over the body.TheMadFool

    What right? I thought you just said there were no rights? :D "So, it seems quite natural to infer that death should render all rights null and void."
  • intrapersona
    558
    It doesn't follow that because a corpse has no intent that it is therefore ethical to engage in necrophilia. There are always third parties standing by to be offened, to penalize you, to signal to others the consequence of such acts and to shape social standardsNils Loc

    I thought we uncovered that what society deems appropriate or decent doesn't always hold ground in terms of the societies reasoning behind it.

    We have clearly just seen that without a person to object then there once alive body becomes just a piece of flesh "objectively", REGARDLESS of what third parties standing by think or are waiting to do.

    You know, it is almost as if society has absolutely no reasonable grounds for dismissing necrophilia as unethical but currently just do it out of pure distaste. Now if society were to take this standpoint on other matters... like, say banning the driving of cars because they think cars have consciousness. In this analogy, they have no grounds to say that cars are conscious but yet do so purely because of distaste for modern automobiles and there are always third parties standing by to be offended, to penalize, to signal to others the consequence of driving such despicable conscious cars.
  • TheMadFool
    3.4k
    What right? I thought you just said there were no rights? :D "So, it seems quite natural to infer that death should render all rights null and void."intrapersona

    :D I'm not feeling too well
  • Nils Loc
    483
    We have clearly just seen that without a person to object then there once alive body becomes just a piece of flesh "objectively", REGARDLESS of what third parties standing by think or are waiting to do. — intrapersona

    If you jettison the third person point of view then you jettison the need of ethics altogether so there is not point in asking whether or not it's ethical. Who gives a fuck about ethics if only you exist (and the sexy corpse, with its spirit watching from the periphery.)

    Let's pretend you have an opportunity open without the baggage of petty anti-necrophilia moralists.

    What else guides your own decision to fuck corpses? Do you personally feel a compulsion to fuck dead people?
  • intrapersona
    558
    I'm not feeling too wellTheMadFool

    Nor am I... If you by chance happen to die from this sickness, can I have sex with your body? :D :P
  • intrapersona
    558
    If you jettison the third person point of view then you jettison the need of ethics altogether so there is not point in asking whether or not it's ethical. Who gives a fuck about ethics if only you exist (and the sexy corpse, with its spirit watching from the periphery.)Nils Loc

    that's a very good point Nils Loc. I guess it comes back to what I was saying earlier about their intention carrying forward. If everyone died on the planet right now except for you, then there would still be a system of ethics in place so long as you uphold it in your mind. So ethics exists in the mind alone without the need for other humans. You could live in a remote island and feel the need not to hurt any other creatures and just live off coconuts. Take away the other creatures and your point stands up to reason as there would be no interaction with "another" for the opportunity for good and bad to take place.

    Let's pretend you have an opportunity open without the baggage of petty anti-necrophilia moralists.

    What else guides your own decision to fuck corpses? Do you personally feel a compulsion to fuck dead people?
    Nils Loc

    Haha, I guess it isn't about the desire to fuck dead meat, but more an example for possible investigation in trying to see whether intention is somehow exterior to oneself. How? Well because you are a function of the universe, and because you are that... why then one process in time is linked to another time, no matter how distant. So my great grandmother wouldn't want any of her descendants to cheat on their girlfriends/boyfriends, and her intention still exists... as a product of HAVING EXISTED on the timeline of human existence/universal absolute time.
  • TheMadFool
    3.4k
    Nor am I... If you by chance happen to die from this sickness, can I have sex with your body? :D :Pintrapersona

    Well, since you asked permission, I'd say yes, of course.
  • Nils Loc
    483
    So my great grandmother wouldn't want any of her descendants to cheat on their girlfriends/boyfriends, and her intention still exists... — intrapersona

    She has no intentions if she has passed. You have a memory of her character by which you presume you could predict her behavior were she alive. Also such beliefs could either be cultural norms passed onto her in addition to the result of a personal experience in the course of her own life which she thinks should apply to the conduct of others.

    Just because you claim to represent the wishes of the deceased doesn't lend any "objectivity" to some free floating intentional spirit (which probably doesn't exist by an empirical measure). People will ask for reason as to why they should trust you as a representative of a dead person's wishes in the absence of some concrete record (like a will). If sleep and time can change a living person's intentions, why can't death?

    We can project intentionality into characters in novels by extrapolation and inference. Perhaps we do that with living people also, such that we apprehend events as having a certain probability, owing to trends, habits, customs and partially controlled processes. We infer and project intention of criminals based on what they were caught doing, on incomplete evidence, using reason.

    Can you articulate your intentions at the time you posted this thread? Do we infer strictly one what we observe? Can or did you deceive yourself? Are there not processes of pure habit or instinct that explain away your intentions in spite of what you claim they are?
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