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Who Has Final Control Over Our Bodies: Me, You, or God?

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  1. Introduction
  2. Existentialist philosophy
  3. The philosopher Epictetus
  4. The final controller of our person
  5. The crime of choice
  6. Conclusion
  7. References

Human beings, as superior animals, are born with unique cognitive processes that we have yet to identify in other animals. It is our cognition, our thoughts that set us apart from other creatures and make us who we are. However, our ability to think and analyze is also what causes us to question what we are capable of. Within the capacity of our thoughts and minds we have complete freedom. It is the freedom of our bodies that we continue to question. Who has final control over our bodies? Philosophers, lawmakers, and the average individual have been battling with the idea of our physical freedoms for a long time. We, as human beings, have free will and because of this every action is an exercise of that freedom. Because of our free nature, despite some limitations, we have ultimate control over our bodies and our actions.

[...] These things are not only not in our control, but in essence they are in the control of others. Then, according to Epictetus, final control over our own personal body (something Sartre argues is completely controlled by each individual) is in the hands of anyone else but us. In fact, Epictetus has a very good point. We cannot control nature. If nature decides to wreak havoc on our bodies, that is not in our power. We cannot prevent our bodies from aging and slowly deteriorating, which is only natural, so we therefore cannot totally control our bodies. [...]


[...] The control over that child's life is no longer in the hands of the mother, but now in the hands of the law. In any other case, final control over the body of a child (as deemed by the government) is in the hands of the parents until the child reaches the age of 18. A minor cannot choose whether or not to pierce or tattoo his body without parental consent. In this way, the government has granted control over their children's bodies. However, the existing laws present a great deal of control over all of us. [...]

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