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Organ Trafficking in Africa: Pragmatist Ethical Reconsiderations

In: Contemporary Pragmatism
Authors:
Belayneh Taye Department of Political Sciences and International Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, Bahir Dar University, Bahir Dar, Ethiopia

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Abayneh Atnafu Department of Political Sciences and International Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, Bahir Dar University, Bahir Dar, Ethiopia

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Yihenew Wubu Endalew Department of Political Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Arba Minch University, Arba Minch, Ethiopia

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Sisay Demissew Beyene Department of Economics, Faculty of Business and Economics, Arsi University, Arsi Ethiopia

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Abstract

This article focuses on examining the situation of organ trafficking in Africa from the aspect of pragmatist ethics. In the mainstream thought, the broader ethical dilemma of organ trafficking is viewed within the moral contestation of altruism as a rule for organ procurement and the resulting worldwide organ shortage. The incapability of altruistic transplant orthodoxy to serve as an applicable foundation for a public policy is considered as a reason for organ trafficking. In fact, to battle organ trafficking, utilitarian-inclined studies suggest organ selling, compensated donations, and non-directed paid donations as practical alternatives. However, when investigating the context of organ trafficking in Africa, the issue goes beyond the mere moral dilemma of altruism and organ shortage. In the region, organ trafficking is rooted within more systemic, structural, socio-economic, and political problems, grounded in the abuse of transplantation, and connected to transplant tourism and migration, which needs a pragmatic multimodal solutions than the earlier mainstream pathways. In pragmatist ethics, the moral assessment and solutions to the underlying problems depend on the context wherein the moral problem arises. Pragmatist ethics does not stick to absolute moral theories; instead, it focuses on the relevant assessment of the felt moral problem in a given context and aims at seeking solutions afresh. Thus, in the subsequent sections, this article looks at the context of organ trafficking in Africa and reassesses it by incorporating it into the ethical debates of transplantation and organ procurements and trading. The final part of this article reflects on solutions with the reconsideration of the context of transplantation and organ trafficking in the region.

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