Download Necessary Goods: Our Responsibilities to Meet Others Needs by Gillian Brock PDF

By Gillian Brock

Do any wishes defensibly make claims on a person? if that is so, which wishes and whose wishes can defensibly do that? What are the grounds for our obligations to fulfill others' wishes, after we have such duties? the celebrated individuals to this quantity contemplate those questions as they assessment the ethical strength of wishes. They technique questions of legal responsibility and ethical value from a number of various theoretical views, together with contractarian, Kantian, Aristotelian, rights-based, egalitarian, liberal, and libertarian views. a lot modern discourse approximately ethical and political issues employs the language of wishes; Necessary Goods is a crucial ebook for philosophers and political theorists tackling the ever present challenge of our duties in the direction of others.

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Qxf 3/19/98 4:26 PM Page 36 36—David Wiggins 4. Relativeness of Needs Normativeness apart, there are at least three distinct ways in which needs statements of the simple singular variety we have elucidated must appear to be relative (notwithstanding the other respect, in which they are absolute). First, the suggested elucidation in terms of harm exposes a certain parameter that is always there to be discovered within claims of absolute needing. This is the idea, not innocent of the metaphysics of personhood, of well-being or flourishing, by reference to which we make judgments of harm.

Qxf 3/23/98 10:21 AM Page 29 Necessity and Desire—29 determine what will harm him and what will protect him from harm. This means that needs may be generated, altered, or eliminated by changes in the environment and by the natural course of human life. Moreover, needs of each of the three types I have considered may be affected by deliberate or by unintentional human action. Many social critics maintain that one of the ways in which exploitative societies injure their members is by causing them to incur various needs that the critics characterize as “false” or “inauthentic” or to which they refer in some other manner suggestive of undesirability or defect.

Thus the desirability of a person’s end may justify his claim for what he needs in order to attain it. qxf 3/23/98 10:21 AM Page 23 Necessity and Desire—23 untary, the desirability of satisfying it cannot endow his claim with the distinctive moral quality that is specific to claims warranted by need. This is because free volitional needs have too little necessity in them. There are two related considerations here, which illuminate the moral precedence over desires that needs of certain kinds enjoy.

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