a1 Philosophy and Public Policy, Kennedy School of Government and Philosophy Department, FAS, Harvard University
In this article, I first compare positions I have taken in the past and those taken by Peter Singer on how the allocation of life-saving resources should be affected by (1) the aggregation of expected quality of life, quantity of life, and need, (2) both within the life of a person (intrapersonal aggregation) and across persons (interpersonal aggregation). I then reexamine the specific issue of whether and why differences in expected years of life and quality of life that a scarce resource can provide a disabled and a nondisabled person should affect our allocation decisions. I attend to how the use of the veil of ignorance bears on this issue and also how the conclusions I reach differ in certain ways from my past positions.
This essay is based on three lectures given in May 2006, February 2007, and March 2007 in the Department of Philosophy and at the Program in Ethics and Health, Harvard University. I am grateful for comments from Ruth Chang, Shelly Kagan, Jeff McMahan, the other contributors to this volume, and its editors.