Should I be allowed to do whatever I want with or to my own body as long as the contemplated acts affect only myself and my body? Should I, for example, be allowed to mutilate or change my own body in any way I see fit? If we follow this dissertation, the answer is yes to both questions. By examining whether it is morally wrong to inflict harm on one’s own body, whether harm can count as a relevant reason for restricting self-harming behaviour, and to what extent we can justify restrictions on self-harming behaviour in a non-paternalistic way, this dissertation finds that there are few (if any) substantial moral limits to what one may do to one’s own body. As long as we live according to our autonomous life plan and satisfy relevant procedural conditions, we are living exactly the lives we autonomously want, and this is what matters. Moreover, the dissertation shows that some of the most prominent liberty-limiting principles in the literature do not succeed in justifying restrictions on self-regarding behaviour, which indirectly supports the thesis that there are few (if any) substantial moral limits to what one may do to one’s own body.
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