Skip to main content

Duties to the Dead and the Conditions of Social Peace

Buy Article:

$51.63 plus tax (Refund Policy)


This essay focuses on the purported duty—defended by Walter Benjamin but widely assumed in much political theory and practice—of the living to redeem the suffering of those who died as a consequence of oppression, exploitation, and political violence. I consider the cogency and ethical value of this duty from the perspective of a politics grounded in the equal life-value of human beings. For both metaphysical and ethical reasons I conclude that this duty does not obtain, first because the dead cannot experience redemption, and secondly because it is politically counterproductive: it personalizes a pathological form of political resistance which may easily incite further violence and thus perpetuate human suffering and oppression.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: August 1, 2012

More about this publication?

Access Key

Free Content
Free content
New Content
New content
Open Access Content
Open access content
Subscribed Content
Subscribed content
Free Trial Content
Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
ingentaconnect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more