Two Ways to Transfer a Bodily Right

In: Journal of Moral Philosophy
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There are two ways to transfer a bodily right. One might transfer a bodily right in a detaching way – that is, without transferring jurisdiction over one’s future bodily choices. Alternately, one might transfer a bodily right in an attaching way – that is, in a way that transfers such jurisdiction. For instance, A might sell his kidney to B for money paid at the time of the transplant. Alternately, A might accept money now, agreeing to give up his kidney some time down the road. In the latter case and not the former, B acquires normative jurisdiction over A’s future bodily choices. In this paper I will argue that the distinction between attaching and detaching transfers of bodily rights has implications regarding whether certain contracts and agreements should be legally enforced – and whether problems arise when the moral and legal transferability of these rights comes apart.