April 3, 2021

The value of life

 The Value and Meaning of Life

Deep topic,

Christopher Belshaw draws on earlier work concerning death, identity, animals, immortality, and extinction, and builds a large-scale argument dealing with questions of both value and meaning. Rejecting suggestions that life is sacred or intrinsically valuable, he argues instead that its value varies, and varies considerably, both within and between different kinds of things. So in some cases we might have reason to improve or save a life, while in others that reason will be lacking.

Therefore qaly is not always a qaly?. So.... 

 This book is about the value and meaning of life. Its focus is on several questions of current and widespread concern, and its aim is to provide answers to at least most of those questions which, as I hope, many will fnd compelling. So we can ask – is life valuable? Or better – which lives, if any, are valuable, and to what extent? What does their being valuable consist in? What sort, or sorts, of value do they have? How, if at all, does this value enjoin us to, or constrain us from, acting in relation to those lives? And then similarly – is life meaningful? But, again, there are better questions to be asked. Can lives have meaning? What sorts of lives? And what sorts of meaning can they have? How is this meaning arrived at? How might it be lost? The two sets of questions are, of course, not altogether distinct. And we can ask both whether a valuable life is, or is likely to be, a meaningful life; and also – different question – whether meaning is itself among the things that we should value.

Economists in need of philosophy.