'Quality of life' and the analogy with the nazis

Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 8 (2):113-136 (1983)
into treatment decisions is viewed as pernicious by some who claim that these presuppose the Nazi position that those who are ‘devoid of value’ must be exterminated. ‘Quality of life’ judgments are said to deny the equal value of human beings and to assume that some lives are not ‘worthy to be lived’. It is argued that the analogy misconstrues the senses of ‘value’ and ‘quality’ employed by Naziism and a ‘quality of life’ position. This leads the analogizers incorrectly to claim that both views assimilate the value of human beings to the value of their condition. A ‘quality of life’ position is grounded in recognition of the logical priority of the value of human beings as self-reflective evaluators and agents, which is a matter of kind, not degree. The ‘quality of life’ is explicated in terms of the standards of well-being of individuals, which are derived from their basic human needs and their individual priorities and goals. The use of ‘quality of life’ judgments is morally required to ensure that considerations of justice and individual autonomy govern treatment decisions. The purported analogy misconstrues the views of both the Nazi position and a ‘quality of life’ position and so is seriously misdirected. CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this?
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DOI 10.1093/jmp/8.2.113
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