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Evaluation in philosophical debates

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Have a look at another sample of evaluative writing below. In this extract the student provides evaluation of two philosophers - Judith Jarvis Thomson and Jonathon Glover. Thomson and Glover are engaged in debate about whether it is reasonable to say that we have rights over our own bodies.

Essay extract

Responding to Thomson's argument, Jonathon Glover states that it is morally objectionable to attach such weight to property rights' when lives are at stake (1977: 131). Glover obviously believes that ownership as a term cannot apply to attachment of a person to their body. Thomson's reply is that if a human has any claim on anything, surely it is his/her body, and I have to agree with this. I believe it isn't even a question of legal ownership. Property can be disposed of by the owner or given away, so maybe our hair could be described as property because it can be disposed of with no harm except strange looks, but we cannot do this with our whole bodies. We can't even donate essential organs until after death so we don't exactly 'own' our bodies - we are our bodies - we need them in order to continue existence as a person, so I don't think Glover's argument is relevant.

Notice how the student both summarises the views of these two philosophers and indicates her own position in this debate.

Whose argument does the student favour?

What reasons does the student give to support this position?

Check your answers

  1. Whose argument does the student favour?

  2. How does the student support this position?

    The student seeks to show that Glover's argument - that the concept of ownership does not apply to a person's body - is not valid. She does this by giving her own examples of body parts (essential organs) that are indispensably a part of us.
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