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Income redistribution, body-part redistribution, and respect for the separateness of persons

Mazor, Joseph (2019) Income redistribution, body-part redistribution, and respect for the separateness of persons. Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy. ISSN 1559-3061 (In Press)

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Abstract

This article considers the question of why labor income may be permissibly redistributed to the poor but body parts should generally not be redistributed to the sick (the body-income puzzle). It argues that solutions to this puzzle that affirm self-ownership but reject labor-income ownership are unsuccessful as are solutions that appeal to the greater welfare loss associated with body-part takings. It defends instead a solution grounded in a novel conception of respect for the separateness of persons. This conception views the sphere of individual moral authority protected by respect for the separateness of persons as encompassing both the person’s body and her labor income. And it views the negative rights that constitute this sphere as varying in strength based on their importance to the right-holder’s personal identity. Since our body parts are generally more intimately connected to our personal identity compared with moderate portions of our labor income, our separateness-based rights against the taking of our body parts are stronger. Thus, while the disadvantaged’s weighty claims to assistance can justify substantial redistribution of labor income, these claims to assistance are insufficiently robust to justify seizing even non-essential parts of others’ bodies.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2019 The Author
Divisions: Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method
CPNSS
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Date Deposited: 26 Jun 2019 13:18
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2019 23:10
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/101066

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