Political Theory 39 (6):724-748 (2011)

What, if any, is the problem with treating bodies as objects or property? Is there a defensible basis for seeing bodies as different from "other" material resources? Or is thinking the body special a kind of sentimentalism that blocks clear thinking about matters such as prostitution, surrogate motherhood, and the sale of spare kidneys? I argue that the language we use does matter, and that thinking of the body as property encourages a self/body dualism that obscures the power relations involved in all contracts that cedes authority over the body. Recognising the self as embodied, however, also makes it harder to insist on sharp distinctions between activities that involve the body and those that "just" involve the mind, hence harder to justify refusing payment for explicitly body services while condoning it for those to which the body is more incidental. I therefore provide a modest defence of monetary compensation for those who "donate" bodily products or services. Compensation does not, however, mean markets for there is at least one sense in which the body is special. This is that more so, and more intrinsically than other markets, markets in body parts or bodily services depend on inequality. I use this to make a case against such markets
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1177/0090591711419322
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 51,447
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Liberalism, Commodification, and Justice.Vida Panitch - 2019 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 19 (1):62-82.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

My Body, My Body Parts, My Property?Deryck Beyleveld & Roger Brownsword - 2000 - Health Care Analysis 8 (2):87-99.
Mind-Body Dualism.Dean Zimmerman & Penelope Mackie - 2011 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 111 (2pt2):181 - 199.
Property and the Body: Applying Honore.M. Quigley - 2007 - Journal of Medical Ethics 33 (11):631-634.
Spinoza and the Problem of Mental Representation.Matthew Homan - 2014 - International Philosophical Quarterly 54 (1):75-87.
Chapter Two. Property Models of Rape.Anne Phillips - 2013 - In Our Bodies, Whose Property? Princeton University Press. pp. 42-64.


Added to PP index

Total views
81 ( #113,980 of 2,330,353 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
3 ( #255,210 of 2,330,353 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes