Is Life Of Equal Value? Essay

1382 words - 6 pages

The scope of this paper will examine the notion of equality with respect to the value of life as it is contained in the argument between Tom Regan and R.G. Frey. Regan maintains that “all who have inherent value have it equally” (Regan 66). Frey, conversely, maintains that not all lives can be of equal inherent value since the potential for enrichment is not equal for all lives. Taking both arguments into consideration, the remainder of this paper will attempt to reconcile these arguments, suggesting that a sensible compromise is possible.
Regan supports his argument with the following premises :
1. All human life is of equal inherent value solely because each human is an experiencing ...view middle of the document...

All ESL have an interest in their own welfare and this is sufficient to warrant equal consideration. Thusly, the value of ones life has nothing to do with “one’s talents or skills, intelligence and wealth, personality or pathology, whether one is loved and admired or despised and loathed” (65). By accepting the validity of Regan’s argument, it seems to follow that all ESL would then, indeed, have equal inherent value --making any unequal valuation of life morally impermissible.
Frey however finds Regan’s first premise to be dubious. It is important to mention that Frey is not contesting the legitimacy of animal rights; but is, instead, raising doubt on Regan’s claim of premise one – that all human life is of equal inherent value. As Frey reveals and opposes, Regan’s first premise rests upon “agreeing that all human life, however deficient, has the same value” (Frey 68). Frey frames his argument as follows:
1. The value of life is derived from the “scope or potentiality for enrichment” (68).
2. However, not all humans have equal potential for enrichment.
3. Therefore, life cannot be of equal value.

If true, this argument inflicts a heavy blow to Regan’s claim, allowing for lives to be unequally weighted and decisions made in accordance with their value (or lack of). For instance, an infant with only half a brain, which undoubtedly has a “negative effect on the quality of life”, does not have the same potential and scope for enrichment (68). The life value of the half-brained infant, consequently, is less than that of an infant with a functional, fully intact brain.
On one hand, for most, it appeals to reason that life has equal inherent value. This forms the basis for central governing moral beliefs. One specific example is that of The Golden Rule. The Golden Rule advocates one to treat others (others, I submit, can apply to all beings, not just humans) as one would like others to treat oneself. Treating one as oneself implies that one is equal to another, for neither is subordinating one to the other. Regan’s call for equality on the value of life also appeals to the notion that one should not kill. For, the killer exalts the value of their life over the life value of their victim.
On the other hand, many cases can be cited which run counterintuitive to the equality of life. Frey provides the example of “an elderly human fully in the grip of senile dementia” (68). Another, perhaps more lucid example, is that of a person in a vegetative state. Both of these underscore the deteriorating quality of life and exemplify scenarios in which life is “no longer worth living” (68). Accordingly, as life becomes no longer worth living, the inherent value of life diminishes, allowing for “trade-offs between it and other things” (68). As a consequence, this allows for cases of euthanasia and abortion. Although these two issues are highly contested, I argue that both ensure the equal value of life. Allowing a suffering human...

Other Papers Like Is Life Of Equal Value?

Movie Analysis Of "Life Is Beautiful"

668 words - 3 pages By: Lee A. ZitoLife is Beautiful is a different kind of Holocaust film. It approaches the horrific ordeal in a way that involves viewers comedically and romantically in the beginning, but then utilizes these tools as a way to lure viewers to experience the Holocaust much like the Jews did. As a sudden change to the happiness and enjoyment of their lives.A few years ago I was flipping through the channels and saw that Life Is Beautiful had just

Access the Claim That ‘the Main Function of Education Is to Maintain a Value Consensus in Society’ (20 Marks)

619 words - 3 pages experience, and the more responsibility they have for the outcomes. Also Bowels and Gintis point out that success is not entirely related to intellectual ability e.g. the pupils who fit in and conform will do better then whose whom express attitudes or display behaviour which challenges the system. In conclusion we can see that the main function of education is to not to maintain value consensus but that it is to teach the norms and values that enables people to get a job however tis is not equal for everyone as the education system does not have equal opportunity for everyone due to a variety of reasons.

Why You Think It Is Important – and Part of Your Responsibility – to Promote Appropriate Behaviour and Respect for Others and Ways You Would Go About Promoting Equality and Value Diversity Through...

771 words - 4 pages Why you think it is important – and part of your responsibility – to promote appropriate behaviour and respect for others and ways you would go about promoting equality and value diversity through your approaches to education and training The most important task for teacher is to educate the learner. To do so the better learning environment has to be created in the classroom. Positive behaviour or good behaviour of students motivates

This Essay Is A Comparison Of The Metaphors Used To Explain Life By Langston Hughes And Norman McLean. It Explains Life In Aspects People Usually Don't Think About

1676 words - 7 pages the things that Americans never have and probably never want to see. He knows that all people are created equal and evolved alongside one another. Life is precious and all lives are preceded by history, and it is that history that should tell all peoples that they are one. All races of people have their notable achievements in history, and not one of them amounts to more than the other; if anything the achievements of all level each other's out

What Is the Literatry Function of the Dialogue Between Language and Nature in David Malouf's an Imaginary Life

547 words - 3 pages 50 Excellent Extended Essays What is the literary function of the dialogue between language and nature in David Malouf’s An Imaginary Life? © International Baccalaureate Organization 2008 1 50 Excellent Extended Essays What is the literary function of the dialogue between language and nature in David Malouf’s An Imaginary Life? 2 © International Baccalaureate Organization 2008 50 Excellent Extended Essays What is the

Suggest How Family Life Might Be Affected When A Member Is Severely Depressed. What Kind Of Support Would Be Helpful?

430 words - 2 pages , of being unable to help or they might experience psychological trauma. Other than that on the patient them self they will lose their jobs, shattered relationships, families alienated and the end result is all too often the failure of a promising life, or a tragic suicide. Supports that might be helpful will be sending the BPD patient to therapy usually consisting of 2-3 therapy session per week. The therapist would work with the patient to

Why Has the Work Done by Women Often Been Assumed to Be of Less Important Than the Work Done by Men? Is It Due to the Prevalence of Men’s Ideas About the Value of Individual Occupations, or Have Other...

2668 words - 11 pages . (Reddock 2007: 11). Is it due to the prevalence of men’s ideas about the value of individual occupations, or have other forces been involved Since the work done by women is seen as insignificant and in order to keep the farce of women in low paying job. Sex segregation of jobs and occupation helps to play a very important role in maintaining the status quo of the male patriarchal society. By placing women and men in varying roles in the work

"It Is Circumstance That Enables Us To Reinvent Ourselves And The World Around Us" Discuss In Relation To 'Life Of Pi' And Three Related Texts Of Your Choice

1706 words - 7 pages an individual's conceptual views concerning themselves and their place in the world.Circumstance is the fuel for reinvention as it is only with comparison that the human mind is able to identify and adapt. This message is portrayed through Life of Pi (Yann Martel), Images of Madonna, Fight Club (Chuck Palahniuk), and Hermann Junger's designs (jewellery). These composers depict their portrayal of life and the world and it is clear that these

The Function of Science Is to Reassure; the Purpose of Art Is to Upset. Therein Lies the Value of Each

656 words - 3 pages Are the function and purpose of science and art only to reassure and upset? Are there values so distinctly different from each other as the speaker stated? In my opinion, however, the function of science is not always to reassure, and the purpose of art goes far beyond upsetting. Admittedly, science plays a crucial role in that it aims to seek the internal orders of things and reveal the laws of nature, which reassure people and diminish our

Fetal states while the baby is still in the womb, how things are different from inside and out. "Mystery of a Hidden Life"

560 words - 3 pages positive prenatal development to not only fetal life, but also to post-labor life is strongly stressed in this article.Commonly, expectant mothers are advised complete abstinence from alcohol. The author notes that this advice is due to health-care professional's fear that without such advice, expectant mothers will drink immoderately. Immoderate drinking by expectant mothers has been linked to lower IQ scores of the children born to those mothers

As Rita Progresses She Changes - Note How Denny Reacts and How She Says of Herself ‘She’s Gone (Her Former Self) and I’ve Taken Her Place’. as She Says the Course Is ‘Providing Her with Life’, but...

889 words - 4 pages feels that her education is “providing her with life” and is removing her from the restricting lows of working-class life, but she doesn’t take notice of Frank: middle-class, well-educated, an alcoholic and depressed. She feels that her education will transform her into a quintessentially British middle-class woman, but instead it breaks down her relationship with her husband, sets barriers between her and her parents, who also pressurise her into

Related Essays

The Value Of Life Essay

1124 words - 5 pages Obama Care By: Crystina Parga Work Cited Armstrong, Lance, and Sally Jenkins. It’s Not About The Bike; My Journey Back to life. New York: PenguinPutnam, 2001. Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. What is the value of life? That is a question many people ask themselves, or others. There really is no right or wrong answer. Everyone has a different opinion, perspective, or personal experience. I believe the value of life has so many meanings

Value Of Life Essay

2120 words - 9 pages successful life for her and her child. The outcome of teenage pregnancy turns out better if the mother goes back to school after she has given birth. (Berk 190) Staying in school may help to prevent teenage mothers from having a second pregnancy. (Planned Parenthood 2) The outcome is also better if the mother continues to live with her parents so that they can help to raise the child. Young, teen mothers need health care for themselves as well as their

Effective Application Of 3p Is Operating Model Leads To Value Addition To Business

816 words - 4 pages Market competition, dynamic changes in technology, changes in legislation or regulation forces companies to add value to the stakeholders in order to exist in the market. In such a situation, Information Systems of a company is highly expected to add value to business. Business Value means all forms of value that determine the health and well-being of the business firm in the long run (WikiPedia). Such value addition is not easily or freely

What Is The Meaning Of Life

1469 words - 6 pages What is life and its meaning? Most people, at some point in their lives, have asked this question. It’s very subjective and it depends on every individual because we are all unique and have different opinions. People can see life as many different things such as suffering, desire, art, nirvana, a game, and even an investment. Although I can agree that life can be many of those things, I see life as relationships and learning however, there are