Against Body Exceptionalism: A Reply to Eyal


a1 University of Edinburgh [email protected]

It is hard to do justice, in a short reply, to Eyal's excellent review. Accordingly, I will focus on what I take to be its central claim – namely that I fail to give proper consideration to the extent to which the forced extraction of (live) body parts undermines individuals' opportunities for self-respect. According to Eyal, ‘body exceptionalism’ (the view that body parts, unlike material resources, are not appropriate subject matter for duties of justice) can be defended on the following grounds: ‘People usually see trespass into a person and into objects they associate with a person – especially into a person's body – as utterly disrespectful towards that person and her autonomy’ (pp. 236–7). And later: ‘Whether or not organ confiscation is truly disrespectful . . . its widespread and intractable perception as a humiliating violation counts heavily against it, because it can thwart opportunities for self-respect’ (p. 238).