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Lecture to Explore the Ethics of Selling Organs

Philosophy professor Mark Nelson will speak April 8 at the University Club

Mark Nelson, the Kenneth and Peggy Monroe professor of philosophy at Westmont College, will explore the thorny ethical issues surrounding the idea of offering money for human organs in a free lecture, “The Morality of Organ Trafficking,” at 5:30 p.m. April 8 at the University Club, 1332 Santa Barbara St.

Mark Nelson
Mark Nelson

The free, public lecture is part of Westmont Downtown: Conversations About Things That Matter.

Nelson, who began teaching at Westmont in 2006, says there is a shortage of kidneys for transplant all over the word. In the United States alone, more than 80,000 people are waiting for suitable organs, but last year only 16,000 received transplants.

“The others will have to endure lengthy and unpleasant dialysis treatments or die before an organ becomes available,” Nelson said. “Given this chronic shortage, some doctors and health economists have proposed offering financial incentives to potential donors to increase the supply of transplantable organs.”

He says he will probe the ethical issues of justice, beneficence and commodification that surround the idea of offering money for organs.

Before coming to Westmont, Nelson spent 12 years teaching at the University of Leeds, one of the largest universities in the United Kingdom.

He earned his master’s degree and doctorate at the University of Notre Dame. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Wheaton College in Illinois. Before teaching at Leeds, he was associate professor of philosophy at Hampden-Sydney College and a visiting lecturer at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.

His areas of specialization include ethics/moral philosophy, epistemology and philosophy of religion. Nelson co-edited the book Christian Theism and Moral Philosophy and has had three dozen articles included in various publications.

— Scott Craig is the media relations manager for Westmont College.


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