I have a question about whether individual lives are innately valuable. Say for example that genetic engineering reaches the point where all human beings could be engineered to be born without any disabilities. I know that this would be beneficial because it would alleviate the suffering of the person who would have otherwise been disabled and those who would have been responsible for him or her. However, does being free from a physical or mental disability make a human being more worthy than a person who is disabled? Or compare a multi-lingual person to a monolingual person. Is the value of a life dependent on the person's productivity and skills or is life innately valuable?
It is of value for someone to be free of suffering or disease. But in order for this to be valuable period, the being in question must have a certain intrinsic value. And this intrinsic value of persons, in virtue of which it is valuable that they be free of suffering or disease, is a value that they have independently of whether they are healthy or disabled. This intrinsic value of persons is presupposed as what gives value to what they value and also gives value to their developing their moral and other capacities along with a stable disposition to add value to the lives of others. This disposition to be productive, again, is valuable in virtue of the intrinsic value of the people whose lives are enriched by this productivity. In short, the word "value" is a bit tricky here as it's used both for the intrinsic value of persons and for the contingent and variable value that their health, feelings, capacities, and conduct may have in enriching (adding value to) their own lives and the lives of others.