Whose Body Is It Anyway? - Scenario 1

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 moral issue.

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?


Scenario 1 of 3

*This is a variation on Judith Jarvis Thomson's 'Famous Violinist' thought experiment.

Really Deep Thought

A scientist can hardly meet with anything more undesirable than to have the foundations give way just as the work is finished. I was put in this position by a letter from Mr. Bertrand Russell when the work was nearly through the press.
   --Gottlob Frege.

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