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Eliminating ‘Life Worth Living’

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)769-792
Issue number3
Early online date10 Mar 2017
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018


King's Authors


This article argues for the elimination of the concept of life worth living from philosophical vocabulary on three complementary grounds. First, the basic components of this concept suffer from multiple ambiguities, which hamper attempts to ground informative evaluative and classificatory judgments about the worth of life. Second, the criteria proposed to track the extension of the concept of life worth living rest on unsupported axiological assumptions and fail to identify precise and plausible referents for this concept. And third, the concept of life worth living is not shown to serve any major evaluative or classificatory purpose besides those served by already available axiological concepts. By eliminating the concept of life worth living, philosophers will free themselves of the task of addressing ill-posed axiological questions and ground reflection about the worth of life on more rigorous conceptual foundations.

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