How (not) to think of the ‘dead-donor’ rule

Abstract

Although much has been written on the dead-donor rule in the last twenty-five years, scant attention has been paid to how it should be formulated, what its rationale is, and why it was accepted. The DDR can be formulated in terms of either a Don’t Kill rule or a Death Requirement, the former being historically rooted in absolutist ethics and the latter in a prudential policy aimed at securing trust in the transplant enterprise. I contend that the moral core of the rule is the Don’t Kill rule, not the Death Requirement. This, I show, is how the DDR was understood by the transplanters of the 1960s, who sought to conform their practices to their ethics—unlike today’s critics of the DDR, who rethink their ethics in a question-begging fashion to accommodate their practices. A better discussion of the ethics of killing is needed to move the debate forward.

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Author's Profile

Adam Omelianchuk
Baylor College of Medicine

References found in this work

Principles of Biomedical Ethics.Tom L. Beauchamp - 1979 - Oxford University Press.
Modern Moral Philosophy.G. E. M. Anscombe - 1958 - Philosophy 33 (124):1 - 19.
Active and Passive Euthanasia.James Rachels - 1975 - In Steven M. Cahn (ed.), Exploring Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology. Oxford University Press.
Modern Moral Philosophy.G. E. M. Anscombe - 1958 - In Thomas L. Carson & Paul K. Moser (eds.), Morality and the Good Life. Oup Usa.

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