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Interconnected, inhabited and insecure: why bodies should not be property
  1. Jonathan Herring1,
  2. P-L Chau2
  1. 1Exeter College, Oxford, UK 
  2. 2Bioinformatique Structurale, Pasteur Institute, Paris, France
  1. Correspondence to Jonathan Herring, Exeter College, Oxford OX1 3DP, UK; jon.herring{at}


This article argues against the case for regarding bodies and parts of bodies to be property. It claims that doing so assumes an individualistic conception of the body.  It fails to acknowledge that our bodies are made up of non-human material; are unbounded; constantly changing and deeply interconnected with other bodies. It also argues that holding that our bodies are property does not recognise the fact that we have different attitudes towards different parts of our removed bodies and the contexts of their removal.  The appropriate legal reform should, therefore, be to produce a statute which can provide a balance between the competing personal, social and interpersonal interests in different body parts.

  • Bills, Laws and Cases
  • Donation/Procurement of Organs/Tissues
  • Feminism
  • Law
  • Philosophical Ethics

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