Christian Bioethics 6 (2):171-193 (2000)

With rare exception, Roman Catholic moral theologians condemn the sale of human organs for transplantation. Yet, such criticism, while rhetorically powerful, often oversimplifies complex issues. Arguments for the prohibition of a market in human organs may, therefore, depend on a single premise, or a cluster of dubious and allied premises, which when examined cannot hold. In what follows, I will examine the ways in which such arguments are configured. For example, Thomas Aquinas'(1224–1274) understandings of embodiment and moral uses of the body are usually interpreted as, and cited in support of, foreclosing a market in human organs. Aquinas' principle of totality requires that one preserve the wholeness of the human body. In approaching Aquinas' texts, I will assume the role of a revisionist who takes seriously his core commitments, while at the same time indicating that one can further develop his understanding of the body in ways which are supportive of the sale of human organs while remaining in conformity with the author's core concerns. Such considerations will provide significant grounds for concluding that a market in human organs for transplantation appreciates the embodied nature of the human person, respects the body and its parts as personal, rather than as mere things, is consistent with acknowledging God's dominion over our lives and bodies, and constitutes an appropriate utilization of God's gifts to us. Moreover, such a market would likely create significant opportunities charitably to help others, to enhance human dignity and to protect against the serious dehumanization of current national bureaucratic procedures for organ donation
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1093/1380-3603(200008)6:2;1-7;FT171
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 50,241
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Natural Law and Natural Rights.John Finnis - 1979 - Oxford University Press.
Whose Justice? Which Rationality?Alasdair Macintyre - 1988 - Journal of Religious Ethics 16 (2):363-363.
Natural Law and Natural Rights.Richard Tuck - 1981 - Philosophical Quarterly 31 (124):282-284.
Medico-Moral Problems.Gerald A. Kelly - 1955 - St. Louis, Catholic Hospital Association of the United States and Canada.

View all 15 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Kidneys Save Lives: Markets Would Probably Help.Luke Semrau - 2014 - Public Affairs Quarterly 28 (1):71-93.

View all 6 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Thomistic “Monism” Vs. Cartesian “Dualism”.Gyula Klima - 2007 - Logical Analysis and History of Philosophy 10:92-112.
The Dialectic of Soul and Body.William Hasker - 2013 - American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 87 (3):495-509.
A Defense of a Thomistic Concept of the Just Price.Daryl Koehn & Barry Wilbratte - 2012 - Business Ethics Quarterly 22 (3):501-526.
Market Boundaries and Human Goods.Russell Keat - 2000 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 45:23-36.
Body Mereology.Frederique de Vignemont - 2005 - In G. Knoblich, I. M. Thornton, M. Grosjean & M. Shiffrar (eds.), Human Body Perception From the Inside Out. Oxford University Press.
The Market for Body Parts.Gary James Jason - 2007 - Liberty (October):33-36.


Added to PP index

Total views
32 ( #299,683 of 2,325,132 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #455,085 of 2,325,132 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes