Quality of life assessment and human dignity: against the incompatibility-assumption

Poiesis and Praxis 3 (3):168-180 (2005)
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Only in recent years have the German bioethical and biopolitical debates begun to decline due to rationalization concerning stem cell research or the pre-implantation diagnosis related to the ethical status of the beginning of human life. This is due to the fact that in these contexts we have to ask whether quality of life assessment is ethically acceptable in principle. A fundamental premise in the current debate is that quality of life assessment and human dignity are incompatible. In this paper four different standards of quality of life assessment are distinguished (the naturalistic, the social, the interpersonal and the personal standard). Then an interpretation of human dignity is developed which rests on the essential feature of human beings to develop the capacity for personal autonomy. Finally it is argued that human dignity in this sense is compatible with quality of life assessments based on the personal and the interpersonal standard



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Michael Quante
University of Münster

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