On our ontological construction a person and the only component part 'e has ('er body) are two different entities, and therefore any relation between them is not a reflexive relation in the strict sense. Yet, it has been argued that property relations are always subject-object relations and that no-one has a property in 'er person since property would be an essentially external relationship. This contention, however, is too ambiguous to be of much help to us. If we do agree that it is conceptually possible to use one's own body or a part thereof, then this relation of use is a nonreflexive subject-object relation, but it is not external in that it would be a relation between a person and a thing which is not a part of 'im, or a part of a part of 'im. A complication is that someone who uses 'er own body is not using 'imself in a strictly reflexive sense. In a strictly reflexive sense a person using 'imself is a conceptual absurdity (unless the meaning of the verb (to) use is not the same).

Granted that we can use the body we have (as an element) and/or its parts, we can, conceptually speaking, exclude other people from the use of this body and/or its parts. (When speaking of "the use of our own body", the meaning of this use is probably different from that in the use of parts of our body by ourselves and of that in the use of our body or its parts by others.) If a person is free to do this, that is, if 'e may (but need not) use 'er body and/or its parts, and if 'e may (but need not) exclude nonowners from the use of 'er body, then 'e has a property in 'er own body and/or its parts. Well, this conception is not new: it was already postulated by a natural-rights theorist that 'every man has a property in his own person'. Yet, altho the underlying idea of this postulate may be the same as we have stated, at face value it is the truth turned topsyturvy. Man is a biological, bodily notion, whether it is employed as a pseudo(syno)nym of human being or as a synonym of male human being (while it cannot mean person here), and thus it would be a sort of body which has a property in his or 'er own person. But if the property right exists, it is the other way around: every person having a human body has, then, a property in this body (or, in 'er own human being).

The historical significance of the recognition that 'every man has a property in his own person' has been that every 'man' was thus given the right to the 'labor of his body and the work of his hands'. They became 'properly his'. Unfortunately, in those times his did not only not refer to female human beings, it did not refer to servants either, whether male or female.

Saying that every person has a property in 'er own body is only of practical import when the speaker is willing to assert simultaneously that no-one else, that is, no other person and no group of persons, has a property in this same body as well. In other words: every person is, then, the sole owner of the body 'e has as an element. Only in this case does 'e have the right to exclude everyone else from the use of 'er body or parts thereof, since no-one else is a co-owner of the same body. Thus interpreted the conception of property in one's own body is very important and neglected in an irresponsible way by those who have disposed of property altogether. Whether nature has thus become the 'owner' of everything, or some communal, governmental or divine agency, in both cases a person's body and the parts thereof (such as 'er kidneys) have exactly the same status relative to this owner or quasi-owner as all other natural elements (inclusive of kidney beans). Such implies that there is no way left to distinguish from the point of view of rightful ownership between someone else needing or using a part of a person's body (say, one of 'er kidneys) and this person's own use of 'er body. Should someone incidentally run out of healthy kidneys (say, because 'e has been drinking too much), the medical authorities of a community, state or religious society will have the power to take one of the healthy kidneys which just happen to be in another person's body without 'er consent to transplant it into the alcoholic body. Now, also those who are opposed to property might object that such an action would encroach upon principles of negative freedom, 'absence of violence to body and will', 'prevention of objectification' and other principles they may be more concerned about than property glorifiers. Such arguments yield the very reasons, however, why the above consequence of the total rejection of the whole idea of property with people as owners is to be looked upon as a default which severely weakens, or entirely destroys, the cogency of the extreme antiproperty position.

©MVVM, 41-57 ASWW

Model of Neutral-Inclusivity
Book of Instruments
Things Possessed and Not Possessed