The Integrity of Body: Kantian Moral Constraints on the Physical Self

Philosophy and Medicine 60 (3):209-232 (1999)
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Abstract

The moral permissibility of organ transplantation is taken for granted by most biomedical ethicists and practitioners. Of contemporary concern is not whether, but by what arrangements, we ought to allow organ transplantation. Should we institute markets for organs, thereby increasing their availability and saving many lives? Should organs be sold to the highest bidder? Should we allow the post mortem taking of organs without prior consent? Among moral theorists, the Kantians are suspected of being the least enthusiastic with respect to these and similar questions. I will show the elements in Kant's theory that account for this lack of enthusiasm and how contemporary Kantians might answer questions about the permissibility of various arrangements for organ transplantation. I will argue that Kant would have had a permissive position on organ transplantation post mortem and a restrictive position on organ markets. These results will be based on a broader Kantian view of obligations to the body which stem from a non-formal theory of value. This non-formal theory, I will argue, is at the foundation of Kantian ethics.

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Thomas M. Powers
University of Delaware

Citations of this work

Bodily integrity and male and female circumcision.Wim Dekkers, Cor Hoffer & Jean-Pierre Wils - 2005 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 8 (2):179-191.

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