Are we morally obligated to extend every life that we have the technological or medical ability to extend? The claim that we are underlies Ronald Munson’s book. He provides a fairly comprehensive survey of the ethical issues involved in organ transplantation in a lively style, relying on current, historical or fictional cases to illustrate many of the ethical and policy issues. He also integrates relevant medical and scientific information into the discussion.
Munson’s background makes him the right person to write this book. He is a professor of philosophy of science and medicine at the University of Missouri–St. Louis, has served as a medical ethicist on a National Institutes of Health study and a human subjects review committee and has written three novels. Yet his book is not definitive. We need to think more broadly and deeply about some of the issues he raises.