Quality of life - three competing views

Sondøe, Peter
March 1999
Ethical Theory & Moral Practice;Mar1999, Vol. 2 Issue 1, p11
Academic Journal
The aim of the present paper is to describe three different attempts, which have been made by philosophers, to define what quality of life is; and to spell out some of the difficulties that faces each definition. One, Perfectionism, focuses on the capacities that human beings possess: capacities for friendship, knowledge and creative activity, for instance. It says that the good life consists in the development and use of these capacities. Another account, the Preference Theory, urges that satisfying one's preferences, or desires, is what improves one's quality of life. And a third account, Hedonism, sees life-quality as consisting in the enjoyment of pleasure and the avoidance of pain. The paper describes and evaluates objections to each of these views, thereby displaying their weaknesses and strengths. Since no view comes out as the right one there is a choice to be made. At the end of the paper it is being discussed how well each of the views cohere with different methodologies used in quality of life research. Also it is suggested that considerations about what the research is to be used for are relevant.


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