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Two Philosophies of Needs
Two Philosophies of Needs

Author(s): Stephen McLeod
Subject(s): History of Philosophy, Philosophical Traditions, Special Branches of Philosophy
Published by: Instytut Filozofii Uniwersytetu Jagiellońskiego
Keywords: philosophy of Need

Summary/Abstract: Instrumentalists about need believe that all needs are instrumental, i.e., ontologically dependent upon ends, goals, or purposes. Absolutists view some needs as non-instrumental. The aims of this article are: clearly to characterize the instrumentalism/absolutism debate that is of concern (mainly §1); to establish that both positions have recent and current adherents (mainly §1); to bring what is, in comparison with prior literature, a relatively high level of precision to the debate, employing some hitherto neglected, but important, insights (passim); to show, on grounds not previously to the fore in the literature, that insofar as instrumentalism’s advocates have provided arguments for the position, these are unsound (§2); to argue against instrumentalism using a new dilemma concerning whether ‘end’, ‘goal’, and ‘purpose’ are interpreted in amentalistic manner (§3); to elucidate the implications of the needs/need-satisfiers and preconditions/means distinctions for the debate (§4).

  • Issue Year: IX/2015
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 33-51
  • Page Count: 19
  • Language: English