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Indicating your position

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In the Thomson vs Glover essay extract below, the student uses various reporting expressions to summarise the two philosophers' arguments. For example:

Jonathon Glover states that...



Glover obviously believes that...



Thomson's reply is that...

The student also uses a number of expressions to clearly indicate her own position.

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.

Study the extract again and write down these expressions in the boxes below (the first has been done as an example).

Expressions to indicate student's position:

  • I have to agree with this

Check your answers

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.

You will notice that in these sentences, the student has used the first-person pronoun ' I'. Whilst in some disciplines (and in some circumstances) the use of 'I' is not encouraged, it is quite acceptable here. The first person pronoun makes it clear to the reader that you are presenting your own position. (see FAQ 14 in Lecturer's Advice.)

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