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Japanese Sociological Review
Vol. 55 (2004-2005) No. 3 P 298-313



Wrongful life claim means that the child, who was born disabled due to a genetic defect that should have been detected by the mother's doctor, sues the doctor for damages as being born, claiming that he or she would have been better off if not being born at all. It is apparently a type of discrimination against the disabled, but current theories on discrimination cannot respond to it because, (1) the same persons discriminate themselves contrary to the usual belief and (2) its negativity is thorough in the sense that it denies the meaning of life completely. It is a situation that stands at the limits of discrimination.
Wrongful life claim is, however, nothing but a nonsense from a logical point of view. In order to make a wrongful life claim, you need to compare the quality of present life you live with the quality of the situation where you have not been born at all. But it is impossible because you cannot experience from inside the world that does not include yourself. Nevertheless, wrongful life lawsuits have been increasing and in some cases plaintiffs have won. In addition, we find in our society discourses which contain the same type of speech acts as wrongful life claim, in which a person who is alive speaks as if he or she were a person who has not been born at all or is already dead. This kind of deceptive discourse distorts our concept of death and exploits the dead politically.

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