Is `property' necessary? On owning the human body and its parts

Res Publica 10 (1):15-42 (2004)
Courts usually treat control over human bodies and body parts as a property issue and find that people do not have property rights in themselves. This contradicts the liberal philosophical principle that people should be able to perform any self-regarding actions that do not cause harm to others. The philosophical inconsistencies under pinning the legal treatment of body parts arguably stem from a misplaced judicial preoccupation with‘property’. A better approach would be to hold a policy inquiry into the degree of liberty a society wishes to grant its inhabitants. Only once this substantive issue has been addressed should property be raised as a possible method of implementing the policy.
Keywords autonomy  body parts  coercion  Harm Principle  human body  liberalism  organ donation  paternalism  property  self-ownership
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