This article asks whether personal ventilators should be redistributed to maximize lives saved in emergency condition, like the COVID-19 pandemic. It begins by examining extant claims that items like ventilators are literally parts of their user’s bodies. Arguments in favor of incorporation for ventilators fail to show that they meet valid sufficient conditions to be body parts, but arguments against incorporation also fail to show that they fail to meet clearly valid necessary conditions. Further progress on this issue awaits clarification of difficult normative, conceptual, and metaphysical questions about the possible boundaries of a person’s body. Rather than relying solely on incorporation arguments, we propose an argument against reallocation from widely accepted anti-discrimination principles. Possession of a personal ventilator is an obvious marker of disability identity; thus, reallocating ventilators from those that already possess them discriminates on the basis of a stigmatized trait – a paradigm case of presumptively wrongful discrimination. This discrimination claim, taken together with uncertainty about the bodily status of ventilators, yields a strong presumption against personal ventilator reallocation
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DOI 10.1111/japp.12537
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