An Uneasy Case against Property Rights in Body Parts*: STEPHEN R. MUNZER

Social Philosophy and Policy 11 (2):259-286 (1994)
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Abstract

This essay deals with property rights in body parts that can be exchanged in a market. The inquiry arises in the following context. With some exceptions, the laws of many countries permit only the donation, not the sale, of body parts. Yet for some years there has existed a shortage of body parts for transplantation and other medical uses. It might then appear that if more sales were legally permitted, the supply of body parts would increase, because people would have more incentive to sell than they currently have to donate. To allow sales is to recognize property rights in body parts. To allow sales, however, makes body parts into “commodities”—that is, things that can be bought and sold in a market. And some view it as morally objectionable to treat body parts as commodities.

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Stephen Munzer
University of California, Los Angeles

References found in this work

A right to do wrong.Jeremy Waldron - 1981 - Ethics 92 (1):21-39.
The Right to Private Property.Jeremy Waldron & Stephen A. Munzer - 1992 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 21 (2):196-206.
The Market for Bodily Parts: Kant and duties to oneself.Ruth F. Chadwick - 1989 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 6 (2):129-140.

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