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. The comments, like the concept of property itself, do not have the normative force that Quigley claims for them and it. The question that we need to address is not whether or not our bodies are property but: what rights and duties do we have pertaining to our bodies and to our selves? Notwithstanding how we might subjectively react to the claim that bodies are property, nothing of crucial importance depends on its truth or falsity.