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The claim of an individual to sovereignty over his or her person, typically taken to include not only his or her body (and possibly a foetus within it—see right to life), but also labour, talents, and ‘moral space’. ‘Ownership’ confers a wide range of rights (and possibly duties) with respect to its object, so the claim to self‐ownership is typically a claim to be allowed to dispose of or control one's person as one sees fit. Although the idea has plausibility when contrasted with slavery, an institution which allows one person to be owned by another, and although ‘self‐ownership’ or ‘self‐propriety’ have historically been used to assert freedoms, the identification of the subject and object of the ownership relation has led to the criticism that it is incoherent.


Subjects: Politics.

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