HEC Forum 27 (3):207-228 (2015)

Helen Watt
University of Edinburgh (PhD)
The presence of a human being/organism—a living human ‘whole’, with the defining tendency to promote its own welfare—has value in itself, as do the functions which compose it. Life is inseparable from health, since without some degree of healthy functionality the living whole would not exist. The value of life differs both within a single life and between lives. As with any other form of human flourishing, the value of life-and-health must be distinguished from the moral importance of human beings: less fulfilled means not less important morally, but more in need of being fulfilled. That said, to say that life and health has value is not to say exactly what—if anything—that value requires by way of active promotion at a given time. Many factors must be taken into account in making health care decisions, even if the worth of all lives, and the dignity of all human beings, must in every case be acknowledged
Keywords Value of life  Quality of life  Health  Euthanasia  Human dignity  Basic human goods
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DOI 10.1007/s10730-015-9288-2
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