Property, bodies and Wittgenstien

Hugh V. McLachlan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It is Quigley’s view that we should regard our own human bodies as our property. Wittgenstein’s famous comments about games and family resemblances are cited in support of this contention. She thinks that classification of bodies as property is significant and that it will help us to answer the ethical and political questions about how we should treat and be permitted to treat body parts, tissues and such like. This paper seeks to show that, although Wittgenstein’s comments about games and family resemblances might help us to think more clearly about the philosophical problem of universals, they do not lead one to imagine that bodies are property.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-31
Number of pages4
JournalOpen Ethics Journal
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2009


  • ethics
  • philosophy
  • essentialism
  • nominalism
  • human body
  • Wittgenstein


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