Circumcision, Abortion, Compulsory Vaccination: Philosophy of Bodily Integrity


Do we have the right to cut or modify a child’s genitals for religious or cultural reasons (for example, through penile circumcision or ‘ritual nicking’ of the vulva)? Should teenagers be allowed to alter their bodies through tattoos, piercing or cosmetic surgeries? When, if ever, are doctors justified in medically treating or vaccinating people against their will, or, if children, the will of their parents? Can governments legitimately limit the right to abortion?

This two-day event will explore these and other philosophical puzzles about our bodies and our rights over them, many with a medical dimension.

The speakers are two leading researchers in the field, having lectured internationally and published peer-reviewed articles on these and related topics in top bioethics journals.

Please note: this event will close to enrolments at 23:59 UTC on 6 November 2024.

Programme details

Saturday 9 November 2024

Registration at Rewley House reception

Female, male, intersex, trans: current debates on genital modification
Brian Earp

Tea/coffee break

What makes bodily integrity (especially) worth having?
Lisa Forsberg

Lunch break

The child’s right to bodily integrity: what is it and when is it violated?
Brian Earp 

Tea/coffee break


End of day

Dinner (optional)

Sunday 10 November 2024

Breakfast (residents only)

Is consent to non-touching interventions less important than consent to bodily interventions?
Lisa Forsberg

Tea/coffee break

Brian Earp and Lisa Forsberg in conversation with Stephen Law

Lunch and end of weekend


Description Costs
Course Fee (includes tea/coffee) £185.00
Saturday Baguette Lunch £7.30
Saturday Dinner £28.50
Saturday Hot Lunch (3 courses) £19.25
Single B&B (Saturday night) £113.00
Single room only (Saturday night) £98.00
Sunday Baguette Lunch £7.30
Sunday Hot Lunch (3 courses) £19.25


If you are in receipt of a UK state benefit or are a full-time student in the UK you may be eligible for a reduction of 50% of tuition fees.

Concessionary fees for short courses


Dr Brian Earp


Brian Earp is author of the forthcoming book Their Body, Their Choice (under contract with Chicago University Press), which explores questions of bodily integrity in detail.

Dr Lisa Forsberg


Lisa Forsberg has written on consent, our rights against bodily and mental interference, and on non-consensual medical interventions, and is co-editor (with Isra Black, Anthony Skelton, and Jonathan Herring) of the forthcoming anthology Consenting Children: Autonomy, Responsibility, Wellbeing (Proceedings of the British Academy, Oxford University Press). 

Dr Stephen Law

Director of Studies and Chair

Stephen Law is a Departmental Lecturer in Philosophy and Director of the Certificate of Higher Education at OUDCE. His research focuses on the philosophy of mind, language, metaphysics and on philosophy of religion. He also writes many accessible online articles and edits the Royal Institute of Philosophy journal THINK: Philosophy for Everyone.


Please use the 'Book' button on this page. Alternatively, please contact us to obtain an application form.


Accommodation for this weekend is at Rewley House for Saturday night only. If you would like to book a double or a twin room, please email Please note guests will be asked for a form of identification (Photograph ID) when checking in to their bedrooms. 

Depending on availability it may also be possible to extend your stay: please enquire at the time of booking for availability and prices.

All bedrooms are modern, comfortably furnished and each room has tea and coffee making facilities, Freeview television, and Free WiFi and private bath or shower rooms.