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Distributive Justice and DisabilityUtilitarianism against Egalitarianism$
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Mark S. Stein

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780300100570

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300100570.001.0001

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Distribution of Life

Distribution of Life

Chapter:
(p.222) XI Distribution of Life
Source:
Distributive Justice and Disability
Author(s):

Mark S. Stein

Publisher:
Yale University Press
DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300100570.003.0011

This chapter examines utilitarian and egalitarian approaches to the distribution of scarce life-saving medical resources, or distribution of life. It shows how utilitarianism is able to endorse substantial aid to the disabled based on the assumption that disability significantly reduces welfare, which suggests the possibly counterintuitive conclusion that disabled lives are less worth saving, on utilitarian grounds, than are non-disabled lives. In addition, the chapter discusses the views of Peter Singer and other utilitarian bioethicists regarding disabled and non-disabled lives. In their book The Allocation of Health Care Resources, Singer and fellow utilitarian bioethicists John McKie, Jeff Richardson, and Helga Kuhse agrees with the notion that utilitarianism requires health-care allocators to discriminate against disabled people in the distribution of life. For Singer et al., such discrimination, known as “double jeopardy,” is a proper result of the health-care allocation theory that seeks to maximize quality-adjusted life years.

Keywords:   life-saving medical resources, utilitarianism, disability, welfare, Peter Singer, distribution of life, discrimination, double jeopardy, health-care allocation theory, quality-adjusted life years

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