Kidney problems

April 14, 2006

I was delighted to read Baroness Warnock's review of my book Stakes and Kidneys (April 7). But it is unfortunate that Warnock chose to focus primarily on what she perceived as the style of the book. This might, of course, simply indicate that she has no good arguments against my position.

When she does attempt to criticise my position, she makes serious mistakes. Warnock notes that I argue that the sale of a kidney would not be an "involuntary" action. She claims that my argument is misplaced, as "no one would suggest that" it would be. But some opponents of markets in human transplant kidneys do claim that a sale of a kidney would be involuntary in this way - and it is the arguments of such people that I address at that point.

Warnock also claims that my arguments are based on the view that "freedom to choose has become the highest value and not to inhibit this is the categorical imperative". But in two chapters I outline ways in which a person's freedom to choose should be curtailed to protect her future ability to exercise this freedom. To fail to read or understand one chapter out of nine is misfortunate, but to fail to read or understand two is simply careless.

James Stacey Taylor
The College of New Jersey, US

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