Chapter

Quality and value of life

Fiona Randall and R.S. Downie

in Palliative Care Ethics

Second edition

Published in print June 1999 | ISBN: 9780192630681
Published online November 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191730078 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780192630681.003.0014
Quality and value of life

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This chapter discusses values and valuing, the quality of life, Sisyphus in Greek mythology, choice, happiness or well-being, society and material needs, society and culture, incommensurability and scales, and the value of life. Discussions of the value of life, or of what makes human life worthwhile, tend to be confined to philosophical contexts. Nevertheless, presuppositions about what that value consists of underlie the withholding or withdrawal of many medical treatments. On the other hand, discussions about quality of life tend to take place in a medical context and can easily become distorted because of the deep-rooted desire of medical researchers to quantify what is inherently qualitative. Moreover, discussions of quality of life are rarely linked with those of the value of life, but clearly there must be a link. It emerges that these concepts have directed the approaches we have taken to many issues, such as treatment decisions and rationing.

Keywords: life quality; happiness; well-being; life value; human life; palliative care

Chapter.  7522 words. 

Subjects: Palliative Medicine

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