Sunday, February 04, 2007

Evaluating Lives

From this article (previously discussed here):
Simone Aspis of the British Council of Disabled People said: "Euthanasia for disabled newborns tells society that being born disabled is a bad thing. If we introduced euthanasia for certain conditions, it would tell adults with those conditions that they are worth less than other members of society."

This seems to confuse two kinds of assessments: utility and moral worth. It could be true that disabled people typically have less fortunate lives, without thereby implying that they are worth any less as people. It certainly doesn't imply treating disabled adults with less respect, according their interests less weight, or anything of that sort.

3 comments:

  1. How does one evaluate what "moral worth" is being assumed? (afterall Simone is talking about commuication from the collective)

    We could take a lead from economics for the moment since it also asks society 'questions'...

    Is a product valued by how much people will pay for it, or somthing else? e.g. how much people SAY they would pay for it?

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  2. I guess it's worth noting that despite the logical consistency of killing disabled newborns and advocating rights for already adult disabled people, that advocating such euthanasia could still have psychological effects on disabled people, decreasing their sense of self-worth.

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  3. If it seems okay to kill newborn babies based on either a democratic choice or by the choice or a minority then where would it stop. Soon all could be killed but those by some standard of superiority. Either there is something ultimately absolute to determine a standard of life and death or it is arbitrary and might is right.

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