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How to Treat Persons$
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Samuel J. Kerstein

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199692033

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199692033.001.0001

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Markets in Kidneys

Markets in Kidneys

(p.171) 7 Markets in Kidneys
How to Treat Persons

Samuel J. Kerstein

Oxford University Press

This chapter applies Kantian principles to the issue of the moral permissibility of “live donor” kidney transplantation—specifically cases in which, in exchange for money, someone undergoes a kidney extraction. The chapter specifies contexts (e.g. “transplant tourism”) in which such market exchange of kidneys often involves a failure to respect the dignity of persons, according both to an orthodox Kantian account of dignity and to a newly developed one. The chapter also examines market exchange in light of the notion, familiar in bioethics, that autonomy has intrinsic value. The chapter argues that if, in a Kantian spirit, one values autonomy, then one should be wary of markets in organs. The chapter argues that market exchange of kidneys—even consensual, legal, and regulated exchange that would increase the number of kidneys available for transplant—would often be morally wrong. The chapter briefly considers alternative means of reducing the current shortage of organs.

Keywords:   autonomy, dignity, kidney transplantation, live donor, organ market, regulated market, transplant tourism

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