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value of life


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Both Stoic and Epicurean philosophies stress that since nobody experiences it, death is not an evil and not to be feared. The difficulty then is to say why life is a value and should be protected, and why the curtailment of life by wilful murder ranks as such a serious crime. If this question is tackled by talking of features that give life its value, such as enjoyment or wisdom or knowledge, then the embarrassing consequence arises that lives with more of these things must be of more value than lives with less, threatening the doctrine that everybody's life is of equal value. A religious fudge is to claim that every life is of ‘infinite’ value, but while this may sound good it is not usable in a world of finite resources.

Subjects: Philosophy.


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