T. M. Wilkinson

in Ethics and the Acquisition of Organs

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780199607860
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731747 | DOI:

Series: Issues in Biomedical Ethics


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This chapter is about the conscription of organs. It tests the earlier conclusions about rights over our bodies against the view that organs should be compulsorily reallocated to people whose organs have failed. Although conscription from the living should not be taken seriously, conscription from dead people should not be dismissed out of hand. Nonetheless, the chapter argues against it. It describes and rejects arguments for conscription based on justice, positive rights, and the needs of the sick. Conscription would wrongfully infringe on a right to control what happens to one's body after death. However, small children are outside the scope of the rights‐based argument. Whatever the other drawbacks of conscription, it cannot be rejected on the basis of children's posthumous rights because they do not have posthumous rights.

Keywords: conscription; the living; the dead; needs; rights; public good; children

Chapter.  11028 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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