A medical view on can be inferred from medical accounts of the quality of life: a life has value if it embodies certain qualities. Scales have been developed to quantify quality of life. While the term is used frequently in everyday discourse, perceptions of what it might actually mean differ greatly and are often incompatible. This incompatibility can be illustrated through an examination and extension of the Greek myth of Sisyphus. The different models explored in this paper rest on , , , or being the prerequisite for quality of existence. These models are incommensurable and, as intangible concepts, cannot be quantified. Decision-making in medicine does not require a complex evaluation of the quality of life: it consists of the doctor's offer of treatment based on the best evidence, and the patient's consent to, or refusal of, that offer. Apart from the need to obtain consent, the main ethical constraint on the doctor is equity.
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