In an article pondering the sale of organs Delmonico and Kahn (2004) state “[i]t is an unethical approach to shift the tragedy from those waiting for organs to those exploited into selling them” (p. 180). Their article, though, doesn’t offer much analysis beyond the claim that it is unethical. This ethical perspective can be described as an categorical imperative or “doing that which is morally consistent with the principles of right and wrong” (G. Gilmore, personal communication, April, 27, 2009). This type of ethical perspective is defined internally, it does not consider the impact to oneself (ethical egoism), the society at large (utilitarianism) or the individuals affected (altruism).
When considering each ethical perspective one should consider the vantage point of each party involved to get a true understanding of the issue. In the case of organ sales there are two key parties to consider – the recipient of the organ and the donor. However, under the view categorical imperative their viewpoints are irrelevant. If the sale of human organs is wrong, the means are wrong regardless of what ends the parties involved are trying to achieve.