The term Quality of Life (QoL) has been increasingly used inmedical and philosophical literatures for the past four decades. Thepurpose of this article is to analyze how QoL is being used in medicineand in philosophy to understand its current status.In the 1960s and 1970s new technologies raised new questions forclinicians, so they used QoL as a parameter for making decisions inhealth issues. Consequently, researchers focused their interest on theconstruction and testing of instruments designed to measure healthand QoL. However, all these instruments showed some conceptualand methodological problems that made the use of QoL in medicinediffi cult. While some researchers considered QoL an “idiosyncraticmystery”, others believed that QoL was useful in implementing the patient’spoint of view into clinical practice and they suggested improvingQoL’s defi nition and methodology. In the 1980s, some consequentialistphilosophers used QoL to formulate moral judgment, in particular theyjustifi ed infanticide for some severely handicapped infants, and botheuthanasia and suspension of life-sustaining treatment using QoL. Inthe 1990s, welfarist philosophers opened a new debate about QoLand they associated it with health and happiness. These philosophersdeveloped QoL and those other concepts as subjectivist notions; consequentlytheir defi nition and their measurements pose challenges.Afterwards researchers’ interest in theoretical issues regarding QoL hasfallen; nevertheless, physicians have continued to use QoL in clinicalpractice.

A brief history of the quality of life: its use in medicine and in philosophy

M. Pennacchini;M. Bertolaso;De Marinis M
2011-01-01

Abstract

The term Quality of Life (QoL) has been increasingly used inmedical and philosophical literatures for the past four decades. Thepurpose of this article is to analyze how QoL is being used in medicineand in philosophy to understand its current status.In the 1960s and 1970s new technologies raised new questions forclinicians, so they used QoL as a parameter for making decisions inhealth issues. Consequently, researchers focused their interest on theconstruction and testing of instruments designed to measure healthand QoL. However, all these instruments showed some conceptualand methodological problems that made the use of QoL in medicinediffi cult. While some researchers considered QoL an “idiosyncraticmystery”, others believed that QoL was useful in implementing the patient’spoint of view into clinical practice and they suggested improvingQoL’s defi nition and methodology. In the 1980s, some consequentialistphilosophers used QoL to formulate moral judgment, in particular theyjustifi ed infanticide for some severely handicapped infants, and botheuthanasia and suspension of life-sustaining treatment using QoL. Inthe 1990s, welfarist philosophers opened a new debate about QoLand they associated it with health and happiness. These philosophersdeveloped QoL and those other concepts as subjectivist notions; consequentlytheir defi nition and their measurements pose challenges.Afterwards researchers’ interest in theoretical issues regarding QoL hasfallen; nevertheless, physicians have continued to use QoL in clinicalpractice.
epistemology; medical decision; moral judgment
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12610/6335
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