Romans’ solution to legality of slavery as a part of mind-body duality.


….the same logic has come to be applied even to our bodies, which are treated, in such formulations, as really no different than house, cars or furniture. We own ourselves, therefore outsides have no right to trespass on us…. To say that we own ourselves is, oddly enough, to cast ourselves as both master and slave simultaneously. “We” are both owners (exerting absolute power over property), and yet somehow, at the same time, the things being owned (being the object of absolute power).

The ancient Roman household, far from being forgotten in the mists of history, is preserved in our most basic conception of ourselves…just as lawyers have spent a thousand years trying to make sense of Roman property concepts, so have philosophers spent centuries trying to understand how it could be possible for us to have a relation of domination over ourselves… popular solution… is mind…body, and that the first holds natural dominion over the second – flies in the face of just about everything we now know about cognitive science.

It is obviously untrue, but we continue to hold onto it anyway, for the simple reason that none of our everyday assumptions about property, law, and freedom would make any sense without it.

Full PDF of pg 203 – 207 for context – debt1