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quality of lifequalitas vitae (lat.); qualité de vie (fr.); Lebensqualität (ger.)

  • 1) A vital force or an aspect of it.
    life
    1546

    Certe cum Iacob de vtero egrediens, prioris fratris plantam teneret manu, prior perfecte nequaquam egredi potuit, nisi & subsequens inchoasset, & tamen cum vno tempore eodémque momento vtrunque mater fuderit, non vna vtriusque vitae qualitas suit.

    Lippomano, L. (1546) Catena in Genesim ex authoribus ecclesiasticis plus minus: 277.

    1650

    Il est nostre Pasteur, nostre Docteur, nostre Exemple. En qualité de Vie il inspire au dedans son Esprit viuifiant, qui nous anime

    Hayneufve, J. (1650). Méditations sur la vie de Jésus-Christ pour tous les jours: 115.

    1691

    The Fire is the Father, and the Light is the Son; and they are Emblems of the Father and Son, or of the internal Fire and Light: The Light of this internal Fire is a most pleasant, chearing Quality of Life

    Tyron, T. (1691). The Way to Health, Long Life and Happiness; Or, a Discourse of Temperance: 339.

    1718

    Die Kälte ist auch eine Qualität, wie die Hitze. […] Sie hat aber auch zwey Species in sich, davon zu mercken ist, als nemlich, daß sie die Hitze sänftiget, und alles fein lieblich machet, und ist in allen Creaturen eine Qualität des Lebens, dann es kan keine Creatür ausser der Kälte bestehen, dann sie ist eine quallende, treibende Beweglichkeit in allen Dingen.

    Tersteegen, G. (ed.) (1718). Jakob Böhme: Des großen Geheimnisses der Gottseligkeit Dritter Theil. In: Einleitung zum Wahren und gründlichen Erkänntnis des grossen Geheimnisses der Gottseligkeit: 597.

  • 2) The particular form of life of a (human) being such as its customs and professions.
    life form
    1547

    considero quae conditio idest quae qualitas vitae sit futura supple nobis [modern edition: quae condicio vitae futura sit]

    Sallustius, G.S. (1547). De coniuratione Catilinae, et De bello Iugurthino Historiae: XXI (De coniuratione Catilinae xx, 6).

    1550

    Fortuna est qualitas vitae nobilis.

    Anonymus (1550). Dicta notabilia Aristotelis: 161.

    1600

    se rencontrans en ceste condition & qualité de vie, ce qui est donné à un d’eux en seul, doit estre distribué à tous

    Anonymus (1600). Conference des Edicts de pacification des troubles esmeus: 180a.

    1601

    Or dautant que l’animal est vne substance sensitiue, ceste sorte & qualité de vie des animaux [Orig.: vitae gradus; gradi di vita], qui participent plus de la cognoissance des sens, est donc d’autant plus parfaicte que les autres. Puis qu’il est donc ainsi que la cognoissance intellectiue excede & surpasse la sensible, il s’ensuit de là, que ceste sorte & qualité de vie, qui est aux hommes, est d’autant plus rare & parfaicte, que celle des autres animaux; & parmi les hommes mesme se trouue encor’ diuserses sortes & quialitez de vie, non pas quant à la perfection: car l’homme estant vn animal raisonnable, ceux qui plus viuent selon la raison, ont ceste sorte & qualité de vie plus parfaicte que les autres

    D’Escarras, A. (Transl.) (1601). Girolamo Savonarola: Le triomphe de la religion catholique, apostolique & romaine: 46 (II, 3) [Orig.: Trionfo della Croce, 1497].

    1624

    Par les habitudes i’entends celles par lesquelles on peut nommer quelcun de telle ou telle qualité de vie [Orig.: ἕξεις δέ, καθ᾽ ἃς ποιός τις τῷ βίῳ: οὐ γὰρ καθ᾽ ἅπασαν ἕξιν οἱ βίοι ποιοί τινες.]

    Estienne, R. (1624). Rhétorique d’Aristote. Traduite en François: 207 (III, 7).

    1679

    Lord Chief Baron. Where do you dwell?
    Glover. In Pauls Church-yard.
    Lo. Ch. Bar. What is your Quality of Life?
    Peters. A Servant of the King’s.
    Lo. Ch. Bar. I do not ask you Mr. Peters.
    Glover
    . I belong to the Post House.

    Anonymus (1679). The Trial of Hugh Peters. In: An Exact and Most Impartial Accompt of the Indictment, Arraignment, Trial, and Judgment (According to Law) of Twenty Nine Regicides, the Murtherers of his Late Sacred Majesty [King Charles the Ist] [on Oct. 13, 1660]: 199. 

    1729

    There is Temperance in Apparel, which consists in our using such Habits and Dresses, as suit with the Custom of the Country, where we live, and that Station and Quality of Life, whereunto we are appointed

    Stackhouse, T. (1729). A Complete Body of Divinity: 975.

    1855

    justice as a quality of life

    O'Kelly, E. de P. (1855). Theology for the People; or a Series of Short Papers Suggestive of Religious Theism: 55.

    1874

    I prolong the vision backward across the boundary of the experimental evidence, and discern in that Matter which we in our ignorance—and notwithstanding our professed reverence for its Creator— have hitherto covered with opprobrium, the promise and potency of every form and quality of Life.

    Tyndall, J. (1874). Inaugural address of the president [of the British Association for the Advancement of Science]. The Chemical News 30, 81-93: 91.

    1877

    Fortuna est qualitas vitae nobilis. Averroè.

    Persichetti, N. (1877). Dizionario di pensieri e sentenze di autori antichi e moderni d’ognis natione: 115.

    1938

    No other writer [than Bradford] will so completely reveal the essential frame of mind, the type of character, the quality of life that underlay the theology

    Miller, P. (1938). The Puritans: 89.

  • 3) The standard of living, or degree of happiness, comfort, etc., enjoyed by an individual or group in any period or place; an instance of this (OED 2007).
    life
    1784

    [My Lady’s passion for quality living

    Bage, R. (1784). Barham Downs, vol. I: 233.]

    1801

    the good itself appertaining to man flows-in from the Lord by (or through) the societies of heaven which are round about; good without influx by (or through) societies is not given […]. This also hath been frequently shewn by living experience, for on a time, communication with certain societies was taken away, and on this occasion so much of life and such a quality of life remained, as was the quantity and quality of extension into the remaining societies

    Swedenborg, E. (1801). Arcana Cœlestia: or, Heavenly Mysteries Contained in the Sacred Scriiptures, vol. 10: 339.

    1943

    The plans […] that would give all our citizens more security, better opportunities, and a nobler quality of life

    Priestley, J.B. (1943). Daylight on Saturday: 253.

    1949

    the quality of life

    Trilling, L. (1949). The Portable Matthew Arnold: 24.

    1950

    la qualité de la vie est plus importante que la vie elle-même

    Carrel, A. (1950). Réflexion sur la conduite de la vie: V.

    1950

    how quickly the whole character and quality of life in the valley had changed, how men whol long had lived at peace with each other suddenly began to quarrel

    Fergusson, H. (1950). Grant of Kingdom: 249.

    1950

    it is no longer possible to think of politics except as [...] the organization of human life toward [...] the modification of sentiments, which is to say the quality of human life. The word liberal is a word primarly of political import, but its political meaning defines itself by the quality of life it envisages, by the sentiments it desires to affirm.

    Trilling, L. (1950). The Liberal Imagination: xi.

    1956

    The liberal’s belief in working for change does [...] mean that he feels history can never stand still, that social change can better the quality of people's lives and happiness, and that the margin of change, however limited, is worth the effect.

    Schlesinger, A. (1956). New York Times Magazine, 60.

    1971

    Lebensqualität […, wenn] die materiellen Bedürfnisse an Gewicht verlieren gegenüber dem Suchen nach Gerechtigkeit, Teilnahme, Hoffnung – und Liebe

    Brandt, W. (1971). [Rede vor dem Politischen Club der Evangelischen Akademie Tutzing am 13. Juli 1971]. In: Reden und Interviews, S. 576-584: 583-4.

    1972

    quality of life

    Safire, W. (1972). The New Language of Politics: 54.

    1973

    The high standard of living of modern industrial societies seems to result from a production of food and material goods that has been able to outrun the rising population. But, as agriculture reaches a space limit, as industrialization reaches a natural-resource limit, and as both reach a population limit, population tends to catch up. Population then grows until the „quality of life“ falls far enough to stabilize population.

    Forrester, J.W. (1971/73). World Dynamics: 12.

    2007

    Mit L. [Lebensqualität] wird weniger die generelle Beschaffenheit des (menschlichen) Lebens beschrieben als – im Sinne des ungebräuchlichen Äquivalents Qualitätsleben – das bessere oder gar gute Leben eingefordert. Eine mehr als nur negative inhaltliche Definition bereitet die größten Schwierigkeiten. Die Messung von L. wird sozialwissenschaftlich über die Aufstellung und Gewichtung von Sozialindikatoren versucht […]. Als Zielvorstellung verstanden, hat L. den Charakter eines «Mahnrufs» (Jöhr […]) bzw. «ideologischen Programmtitels» (Lübbe […]). Über Semantik und Pragmatik eines politischen Schlagworts hinaus involviert die Reflexion auf L. eine philosophisch-anthropologische Besinnung, die die menschlichen Bedürfnisse, das Verhältnis menschlicher Umwelt und Mitwelt, die im Zusammenhang mit Tendenzen zur Aufwertung des kleinen Lebensraumes in Frage stehenden Bedingungen für die Gewährleistung der konkreten ‚kleinen Freiheit(en)‘ […] usw. zu ihrem Gegenstand hat.

    Holzhey, H. (2007). Lebensqualität. In: Historisches Wörterbuch der Philosophie, vol. 5, 141-142: 142.

Kann, H.-J. (1975). "Qualität des Lebens"/"Lebensqualität". Anmerkungen zur Wortgeschichte. Muttersprache 85, 50-52.

Holzhey, H. (2007). Lebensqualität. In: Historisches Wörterbuch der Philosophie, vol. 5, 141-142.