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Philosophical Quality of Life and Ethical Dimensions

Sources Of Controversy

One school of thought in philosophy and ethics holds that the concept of quality of life should not be used because it undermines the intrinsic dignity and worth of human life. Something (human life) is being evaluated that should not be evaluated. Human life is valuable for its own sake and not merely as a means for something else. The term quality of life seems to imply that life is not intrinsically worthy of respect, but can have greater or lesser value according to its circumstances.

In addition to those who regard all talk about the quality of life as an affront to the inherent dignity of the human person, objections to the term also come from the disability rights community. From this perspective, the notion of quality of life is part of a broader normalizing ideology in the mainstream culture and works to the detriment of persons with disabilities by perpetuating stigmatization and discrimination against them.

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