Kantian Condemnation of Commerce in Organs
Kerstein, Samuel J.
Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 2009 June; 19(2): 147-169
Opponents of commerce in organs sometimes appeal to Kant's Formula of Humanity to justify their position. Kant implies that anyone who sells an integral part of his body violates this principle and thereby acts wrongly. Although appeals to Kant's Formula are apt, they are less helpful than they might be because they invoke the necessity of respecting the dignity of ends in themselves without specifying in detail what dignity is or what it means to respect it, and they cite the wrongness of an agent's treating another merely as a means without clarifying conditions under which this occurs. This paper crystallizes two different approaches to the Formula of Humanity and probes when, according to them, the principle would imply that it is wrong to engage in "live donor" transactions, in which someone chooses to undergo a kidney extraction in exchange for money.
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