We don't want to say too much here by way of a preamble since this activity
works best if its topic isn't immediately obvious. However, we do want to flag
up that much of what follows has been inspired by the work of the philosopher Judith
Jarvis Thomson: in particular the three scenarios that you'll come across shortly
are variations on thought experiments and questions she originally developed.
Okay, let's start. Please read the scenario below carefully. There is no right
answer to the question we're posing here. We just want your judgement of the
The Soccer Player*
You awaken after a drunken night out to find yourself in bed with a famous soccer
player. He has a fatal blood infection, and his fan club has discovered that you
have the right genetic makeup to help him. They have kidnapped you, and connected
his body to yours, so that your immune system can fight his infection. If he's
unplugged from you right now he will definitely die. But if he stays connected to
you for nine months, and then is unplugged, he will live.
Does the soccer player have rights against your body so that you are obliged
to stay connected to him for nine months even if this is not what you want?
*This is a variation on Judith Jarvis Thomson's 'Famous Violinist' thought
Really Deep Thought