On the Ethics of Reconstructing Destroyed Cultural Heritage Monuments

Thomas, Joshua Lewis and Bülow, William (2020). On the Ethics of Reconstructing Destroyed Cultural Heritage Monuments. Journal of the American Philosophical Association, 6(4) pp. 483–501.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/apa.2020.11


Philosophers, archeologists, and other heritage professionals often take a rather negative view of heritage reconstruction, holding that it is inappropriate or even impermissible. In this paper, we argue that taking such hardline attitudes towards the reconstruction of heritage is unjustified. To the contrary, we believe that the reconstruction of heritage can be both permissible and beneficial, all things considered. In other words, sometimes we have good reasons, on balance, to pursue reconstructions, and doing so can be morally acceptable. In defending this claim, we discern a number of arguments made against heritage reconstruction and demonstrate that these arguments are either exaggerated or lack support.

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