Meeting Needs

Meeting Needs

David Braybrooke
Copyright Date: 1987
Pages: 358
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt7zv967
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  • Book Info
    Meeting Needs
    Book Description:

    The concept of needs works to sort out social policies. Yet the idea is in disrepute with many thinkers who, led by economists, accuse it of being too fluid, or too narrow, or of serving no purpose that the concept of preferences does not serve better. David Braybrooke refutes these charges by providing a model of how the concept of needs works when it is working well.

    Originally published in 1987.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5852-1
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. ADVICE TO READERS
    (pp. xi-4)
  4. ONE THE CHARGES AGAINST THE CONCEPT OF NEEDS
    (pp. 5-28)

    This book aims to show how the concept of needs operates when it is working well and giving firm guidance in the choice of social policies. I shall also examine connections in which the concept breaks down and its guidance lapses. To describe how it operates when it does work well, I shall have continually in view a schema filled out in part by a specific list of basic needs. I shall treat the schema with this list in place as a model, in the sense of a paradigm. The list is, I think, as convincing as any. It will...

  5. TWO THE CONCEPT OF NEEDS IN NORMATIVE USE APPLIED TO SOCIAL POLICY: BASIC ACCOUNT
    (pp. 29-80)

    The confusion about the concept of needs arises in part from the complication that the term “need” is used for adventitious needs, like a need for a spinnaker, or for a typewriter, which come and go with particular projects, as well as for course-of-life needs, like a need for exercise, or for a mate, which every human being may be expected to have at least at some stage of life. In both these connections, there is the further complication that the term is sometimes used to refer to a need that is not being met, and to call attention to...

  6. THREE COMPLICATIONS SURROUNDING THE BASIC ACCOUNT: DERIVATION, CONVENTIONALITY, NORMATIVITY
    (pp. 81-130)

    To give as clear an initial picture as possible of the chief features of the concept of needs in its use assessing social policies, I postponed treating a number of complications. Several of these complications arise so quickly, on every hand, that they resist easy postponement. Unless they are accommodated, it will be hard to see how, in complex current societies, the concept of needs could be used very often, or maybe even at all, in accordance with the basic account that I have given. I shall deal with derivation and conventionality, two such complications, in this chapter and also,...

  7. FOUR THE PLACE OF NEEDS IN REASONING ABOUT JUSTICE
    (pp. 131-160)

    The concept of needs comes into reasoning about justice in two ways: contingently, in the train of rights; necessarily, in the train of a demand for equality. This position is weaker, in regard to rights, than many would expect. It is stronger in regard to equality. Indeed, put thus shortly, it is perhaps too strong. For some conceptions of justice, even some that by definition embrace a demand for equality (which not all conceptions of justice do), the necessity will turn out to be, not logical necessity, but practical. Nevertheless, it is even then a necessity that cannot be defied...

  8. FIVE UTILITARIANISM WITHOUT UTILITY
    (pp. 161-188)

    Meeting needs turned out to be an important, indeed essential consideration with all the conceptions of justice—families of conceptions—that I surveyed. Only with one family of conceptions, however, did it have by design a central place. Only here, where justice rested on equality-in-meeting-needs, did meeting needs stand equally supported by justice and the Principle of Precedence; and only here did these stand in a relation of full mutual support. With the conceptions of justice that professed no care for equality, meeting needs came in only as a means of maintaining the rights cherished as central, or the liberty....

  9. SIX ATTENTION TO NEEDS WITH FURTHER ATTENTION TO PREFERENCES
    (pp. 189-230)

    The extent to which preferences can be allowed for, compatibly with strict final priority for meeting needs under the Principle of Precedence, does not stop with packets of discretionary income. Nevertheless, the allowances compatible with strict final priority do not go far enough to reconcile attention to needs with all the principles that I and others would like to see reflected in social policies. In particular, liberty, understood as ruling out paternalism among other things, stands as yet unreconciled. Nor do the allowances go far enough to show how my account of the concept of needs must be adjusted if...

  10. SEVEN THE EXPANSION OF NEEDS
    (pp. 231-260)

    My treatment of the concept of needs so far will have struck some readers, I expect, as not conservative enough. Not only is the allowance for derived needs too broad for them; they incline to reject the less physically oriented needs on the second part of the basic List. Their dissatisfaction will have offered some resistance to my discussions of justice and utilitarianism, even though derived needs were there informally set aside. It will have persisted through my discussion of reconciling needs with preferences, though little was made of derived needs there, and the priority for basic needs was relaxed....

  11. EIGHT THE CONCEPT OF NEEDS AT THREE POINTS OF BREAKDOWN
    (pp. 261-306)

    When and where the concept of needs is working well, I have argued, it does so in spite of complications about derivation, conventionality, and normativity; and when it is used most strictly it does so in accordance with the convergent demands of justice and of a surrogate for utilitarianism. It can also work usefully—though with some danger of straying from the path of justice—side-by-side with giving due attention, in accordance with the demands of liberty, to matters of preference only. It works well enough in its basic use guiding social policy to invite expanded uses of the sorts...

  12. NOTES
    (pp. 307-328)
  13. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. 329-334)
  14. INDEX
    (pp. 335-344)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 345-345)