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Institute of Biomedical Ethics and History of Medicine (IBME)

New article by Zümrüt Alpinar-Sencan: Reconsidering Kantian Arguments Against Organ Selling

Abstract: Referring to Kant’s arguments addressing the moral relationship between our bodies and ourselves is quite common in contemporary debate about organ selling, although he does not provide us with any specific arguments related to this debate. It is widely argued that the most promising way to show the moral impermissibility of organ selling is to mount an argument on Kantian grounds. This paper asks whether it is possible to argue coherently against organ selling in a Kantian framework. It will be shown that by mounting the argument on Kantian grounds no compelling argument can be given against sale of organs, either because the arguments apply to donation of organs, too, or the arguments are not convincing for other independent reasons. In the first section, it will be argued that donation and selling are not distinguishable in a Kantian framework, since the concern about commodification of the body and its parts shall be raised by both actions. In the second section, some contemporary accounts inspired by Kant will be presented and discussed separately. It will be argued that the reasons for promoting organ donation while arguing against selling clash with each other in an unconvincing way. Link