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A Theory of Human Need - download pdf or read online

By Len Doyal

ISBN-10: 0333383257

ISBN-13: 9780333383254

ISBN-10: 1349215007

ISBN-13: 9781349215003

Rejecting stylish subjectivist and cultural relativist techniques, this crucial publication argues that people have common and target wishes for well-being and autonomy and a correct to their optimum delight. The authors improve a approach of social symptoms to teach what such optimization might suggest in perform and check the documents of a variety of built and underdeveloped economies in assembly their voters' wishes

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50; p. ): 'love, the brevity and frailness of human existence ... the debility produced by age ... the fear of one's own death and sorrow at the death of others', all these are constants which, though they will be experienced in different ways in different cultures and times. are features of the human condition. To these two constraints is now added recognition of the constraints of ecology. 'If ecology's hypotheses are valid', writes Enzensberger (1976, p. 295), The Inevitability of Human Needs 29 then capitalist societies have probably thrown away the chance of realising Marx's project for the reconciliation of man and nature.

As Thompson argues. one can have a drive to consume something, like lots of alcohol, which one does not need and at the same time have a need for something, like exercise or to diet, which one is in no way driven to seek. In the case of the former, the drive is not linked to preventing serious harm in some un ivers ali sable manner, even if harm can accrue in the individual if it remains unsatisfied. Addicts of certain drugs, for example, will become ill if they do not get a fix. Yet it is also the case that they would not have been harmed had they never begun to use drugs and that in the long term the satisfaction of their addiction will damage them in numerous ways - as it would anyone.

They recognize but also create one another's needs and so give a particular shape to what I will call the 'sphere of security and welfare' (Walzer, 1983, p. 65; cf. Rustin, 1985, ch. 3). This is why at the end of the day, individual formulations of need are inevitably linked to the common aims and beliefs - the preferences - of collectives about how they should be satisfied. Their substance will vary with 'different experiences and different conceptions'. Walzer's relativism is admittedly qualified because he also accepts that there are some objective boundaries to the attribution of human needs which cannot be culturally overridden.

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A Theory of Human Need by Len Doyal


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