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Need ?

  1. Jan 4, 2005 #1
    "Need" ?

    What are the philosophical viewpoints of "Need" ? Is it equal to "want" ?
    Why are there things that we can't stop our need for them but there are also things that we can ?
    For example, the only one I need or want is that.

    Thanks
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 4, 2005 #2
    Definitely not the same thing

    A need is a natural desire. Our needs are what keep us alive by our nature. Needs are things such as food and water, which we need for sustinence and ultimately survival. By nature, we need to be social beings, otherwise we slip off the path of reality and go insane. These are just two examples of "needs" that are part of our nature.

    A want, on the other hand, is an acquired desire. These can sometimes be what makes us happy to a certain (sometimes very low) degree. For example, a child says to his mother "I want that toy." The child does not need that toy for survival, he wants to play with it and thus wants his mother to buy it.

    So, when we say "I'm hungry, I want food," we actually NEED the food in order to sustain ourselves. When we say "I need to watch my favourite television show, otherwise I'll fall behind," we actually WANT to watch this show because it makes us temporarily happy.

    Therefore, needs and wants aren't the same. On a philosophical, human level, needs are our human inclinations that keep us alive and well, while wants are things that we desire for our own use and/or pleasure.
     
  4. Jan 4, 2005 #3

    I do agree, but would like to add to what he/she was saying. Both the terms "need" and "want" have been born from society, therefor the individual may use them as they wish, even though it may not be the proper thing to say in that circumstance. I.E.- I WANT food. (or we could say) I NEED food.. Both imply that we are craving food, whether it be that we are starving to death or have the munchies for some Lays.

    Personally, I believe that no matter how pertinent the situation may be, we ALWAYS WANT. I'm pretty sure it is a common assumption that NEED has more "natural" or "primal" roots, I believe that is correct.

    When we are in need of food, we detect that in our conscious. Any word that we say, whether it be WANT or NEED, comes from our consciousness (we register the thought of the word, the sound, and more aspects pertaining to our speech). And it is not pertinent to our survival for our conscioucess to have a Good feeling or thought (pleasure, hope, ect.) vs. an Evil feeling or thought (pain, doom, ect.). So, going back to what I was saying in the last paragraph, no matter how pertinent to our survival we always WANT that Good feeling of (I.E. no pain) to emerge into our consciousness.

    ----- nwO ruoY evaH ,deeN oN <----?eeS I tahW eeS uoY oD
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2005
  5. Jan 4, 2005 #4
    I would just think that a "need" is merely something essential to ones "want".
    ie. I need the remote because i want to watch tv. person x can survive without tv.
    Food and drink are just universal needs because survival is a requirement to every want.
    I want is an accepted desire.

    after checking dictionary.com i think i said it right.
     
  6. Jan 5, 2005 #5
    In American society, people often think of their wants as their needs. It is a very impulsive process. Most of these 'wants' bring only temporary pleasure and are not necessary for them to continue living.

    The definitions of want and need are fairly subjective when it does not involve metabolic processes (the standard 'needs'). For instance, lets say that I wanted a laser. It is little more than a want (on a life scale), but I 'need' it to complete my experiements.
     
  7. Jan 5, 2005 #6
    You want things which will bring you pleasure and need things which will alleviate pain.

    I want candy. I need water.

    www.dictionary.com

    Want
    To desire greatly; wish for: They want to leave. She wants a glass of water. See Synonyms at desire.
    To desire (someone to do something): I want you to clean your room.

    To request the presence or assistance of: You are wanted by your office.
    To seek with intent to capture: The fugitive is wanted by the police.
    To have an inclination toward; like: Say what you want, but be tactful.
    Informal. To be obliged (to do something): You want to be careful on the ice.
    To be without; lack. See Synonyms at lack.
    To be in need of; require: “‘Your hair wants cutting,’ said the Hatter” (Lewis Carroll).

    Need
    A condition or situation in which something is required or wanted: crops in need of water; a need for affection.
    Something required or wanted; a requisite: “Those of us who led the charge for these women's issues... shared a common vision in the needs of women” (Olympia Snowe).
    Necessity; obligation: There is no need for you to go.
    A condition of poverty or misfortune: The family is in dire need.
     
  8. Jan 6, 2005 #7
    I really don't see the point in looking up a word in the dictionary if we are talking about philosophy. Are we not spose to be looking for a deeper meaning? I believe that that is what anyone who never thinks beyond the boundaries of common knowledge would think.

    Still, I have to agree that no matter where the two words may psychologically originate from, they are used in the terms that you stated truth. I would say that what you said is not the "true" meaning to them, but both NEED and WANT are used in the context that you pointed out.

    ----- nwO ruoY evaH ,deeN oN <----?eeS I tahW eeS uoY oD
     
  9. Jan 6, 2005 #8
    The notion of 'NEED' begins at the point of creation. It is defined as anything or law that allows things to come together, to form a union held together and moderated by causal relations, or to create or form other things. The foundational thesis of need is this:

    Any thing that stands in natural relation to another thing is in a relation governed by need. Therefore,for anything to exist and be self-sufficient (completely devoid of all needs), it most possess neither any need that is externally fulfillable nor need that is externally desirable, for to do so would invite it back into a need-driven relation.

    How does philosophy look at need? One straight answer is: Problematic. The notion of need turns up everywhere in philosophy - in philosophy of ethics, philosophy of science, philosophy of mathematics, Logic, epistemology, metaphysics, political philosophy etc. When you deal with any issue that involves the notion of causes, relations, motion, space, time, truth, language etc, you are inevitably also talking about need. Infact, you can simply sum up that 'CAUSAL RELATION' forces the concept of need upon everything. That is, 'WHAT IS REQUIRED NOT ONLY TO BE BUT ALSO TO BE PART OF'. Need could be virtually anything that allows you to be what you are and to be part of another thing or system.

    The notion of need also intruduces the notion of 'DEPENDENCY', INDEPENDENCE, FREEDOM, QUANTITIES, QUALITIES, SUFFICIENCY, EFFICIENCY and PERFECTION. Of all the things on this list, the most problematic ones are the notions of 'INDEPENDENCE' and 'FREEDOM'.

    Here is the fundamental problem:

    THERE IS NO ABSOLUTE INDPENDENCE OR FREEDOM IN THE PRESENCE OF NEED!

    Yes, I accept that 'PARTIAL INDEPENDENCE' or PARTIAL FREEDOM can coexist with NEED. Scientifically, this is typical of things and events in what science know and understand as 'SEMI-CLOSED SYSTEMS'. Yes, I do agree that things and events in semi-closed systems do have what may be vaguely understood as partial independence or partial freedom. The question now is this (and this is a very serious engineering problem):

    CAN THINGS AND EVENTS IN SEMI-CLOSED SYSTEMS BE STRUCTURALLY AND FUNCTINALLY MADE MORE EFFICIENT, LET ALONE BE MADE PERFECT IN THE STRONGEST SENSE OF THE WORD?
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2005
  10. Jan 8, 2005 #9
    I can generate all these thoughts on my own, I could interrogate and document every occurance in my life in manner easy to understand and applicable to all situations. Though I can only see it's usage as a motivational tool to improve the quality of my life logically.

    I don't think your right or have documented these occurances properly. I think need is part of a chain which leads back to consciousness and forward to things like self-sufficiency. For instance.

    "The notion of need also intruduces the notion of 'DEPENDENCY', INDEPENDENCE, FREEDOM, QUANTITIES, QUALITIES, SUFFICIENCY, EFFICIENCY and PERFECTION. Of all the things on this list, the most problematic ones are the notions of 'INDEPENDENCE' and 'FREEDOM'."

    Want --> Quality -- > Perfection

    You do not need higher quality in your bandages if you are injured, they may be softer on your skin, but they will not fulfil your need of healing faster.

    Perhaps need and want are part of the same thing, both needs and wants can be a mixture between your desire to gain pleasure and alleviate pain.
     
  11. Jan 8, 2005 #10
    A philosophical definition generally is a broad, intuitive sense of the word that includes several dictionary definitions under the umbra of one idea.

    In the case of "need," need is something which is necessary in order for something to be the case. A need is always "for" something. Biological needs like food and air are "for" survival; you need them _to survive_. Since this goal of survival is basic to most people's ideas, it tends to remain unspoken. The "for" part is sometimes left out, but it is always implicit. Motai, you do need a laser _for your experiment_; this is not a corruption of the word "need." Nor is, "I need to watch this television show so that I won't fall behind" a corruption; watching the show, too, is necessary for the goal of not falling behind.

    The confusion comes out of statements like "I need to watch this television show" _where there is no stated goal_. When there is no stated goal, the assumption tends to be that the goal is some great purpose, such as survival or spiritual fulfillment, and this is why "need" in these situations is interpreted as an example of misuse. It is not really misuse, just confusion over which goal is meant.

    "Want" does not bear much relation to "need," and refers to the action of a particular psychological motivating device in human minds.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2005
  12. Jan 8, 2005 #11
    I personally believe you are correct in a context pertaining to human nature. It also touches on the consciousness, and the WANTS of it (what the truth has said here seems to be in relation to what I stated before). "Want --> Quality --> Perfection", this segment I find particularly interesting. If you are deriving the word WANT from what you see as consciousness, this alone shows the power of the consciousness...

    This understanding of NEED and WANT seems to be more backed by society (it is more logical compared to the other definition stated by The Truth, and I bet if you asked around this sort of definition would be most common).

    This statement from Philocrat is very interesting as well. From what I can gather it pertains to both society's backing of NEED and WANT as well as the what I see as the definition which comes from a context relevant to human nature. But I do have an question for Philocrat... Is the word need a law? If your answer is no or not completley, or you dont understand; then please explain. Thank you.

    ----- nwO ruoY evaH ,deeN oN <----?eeS I tahW eeS uoY oD
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2005
  13. Jan 8, 2005 #12

    Well, this is my standard habit. I always try to give any definable term a wider scope of interpretation. And the notion of need is no exception. I just did not see any point of limiting its scope of interpretation to what the term is understood at the level of the society alone. I wanted to give it as wider an interpretation as possible.

    Is need a law? Yes, I think it is....and this is summed up by:

    ' NEED IS WHAT IS REQUIRED NOT ONLY TO BE BUT ALSO TO BE PART OF'

    that I inserted in the middle of my original text. Ok, look at it like this. Supposing I asked you the following questions:

    a) What does planet Mars 'need' to come into existence?

    b) And what does planet Mars 'need' to coexist with or be part of our solar system?


    Well, you could respond by answering that:

    c) The planet Mars needs so-so-and-so to come into existence (regardless of what so-so-and-so might turn out to be)

    d) And also, the planet Mars needs so-so-and-so to be part of our solar system


    If these were to be your answers, you would be implying:

    That there is a 'CAUSAL LAW' responsible for bringing things (such as the plane Mars) into existence, and you would also be implying that there are 'RELATIONAL LAWS' needed for events and things to form part of a system (such as planet Mars being part of our solar system). In this very case, I widely interprete 'CAUSAL LAWS' and 'RELATIONAL LAWS' as fundamental 'NEEDS' of nature.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2005
  14. Jan 8, 2005 #13
    If you accept my wider interpretation of 'NEEDS' above, any attempt to give a narrow interpretion to the notion of 'PERFECTION' becomes immediately problematic. You must equally give the term 'PERFECTION' a wider interpreation. My argument is that things and events that are contained in NEEDS-DRIVEN SYSTEMS are difficult, if not impossible, to structurally and functionally engineer to perfection in the strongest sense of the word. If this is the case, as I pointed out in my orginal text above, this now oughts to be the foundational thesis concerning the notion of needs in relation to the notion of perfection:

    Any thing that stands in natural relation to another thing is in a relation governed by need. Therefore, for anything to exist and be self-sufficient (completely devoid of all needs), it most possess neither any need that is externally fulfillable nor need that is externally desirable, for to do so would invite it back into a need-driven relation.

    This, to me, seems like the the fundamental law of needs up to the level of creation of things, events and their relationships. This is better driven home by this argument:

    If Things were originally perfect or fully self-sufficient (that is, completely devoid of needs of causal and relational kinds), then there would be no need for them to come together in the first place, let alone form any relationships that persist over time. And, as you probably know already, needs-driven systems are causally and relationally problemtic. There are problems of DEPENDENCY, FREEDOM, BEHAVIOURAL UNCERTAINTIES, CHANGE, EFFICIENCIES, SUFFICIENCIES, etc. The list is just endless.

    The BIG question now is this:

    If our current universe is Needs-driven in respect of the above interpretation, can things and events in it be structurally and functionally engineered to perfection in the strongest sense of the word?
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2005
  15. Jan 8, 2005 #14
    "Required" is an exact synonym for "needed." The definition is circular.
     
  16. Jan 9, 2005 #15
    This paragraph is a quibble. I read my last post and it seemed insulting, I was trying to clear the plate, so to speak, by criticising the attitude towards the issue at hand so we can more quickly identify what we don't know and what we should do. I will just point out that my idea that need is to alleviate pain and want is to gain pleasure ought to be considerred nonsense, I will criticise myself also with an insult and attempt to insult less, intentionally and accidentally, in the future.

    I believe that justinius has made some real progress, noticing the differnce between aquired desires and instinctive desires. The difference between the neo-cortex and the amygdala, their natures and their interactions are well documented. There is one thing I don't know, which is whether the neo-cortex can react to pain on it's own or whether it needs the amygdala to kick in. You can rationally choose to avoid pain or do something to bring you pleasure, but, possibly due to the hard problem which incidentally is another active topic, I do not know whether the message from the nerve snesing the sensation goes straight to the neo-cortex or through the amygdala first.

    "I personally believe you are correct in a context pertaining to human nature. It also touches on the consciousness, and the WANTS of it (what the truth has said here seems to be in relation to what I stated before). "Want --> Quality --> Perfection", this segment I find particularly interesting. If you are deriving the word WANT from what you see as consciousness, this alone shows the power of the consciousness..."

    This is just a philosophical graph thingy to help understand the hypothesis I am putting forward.

    Completely it would be

    consciousness --> pain/pleasure --> want --> quality --> perfection

    I assume it represents the steps needed to understand perfection or perhaps to want perfection.
     
  17. Jan 9, 2005 #16
    Yes, that is what I thought you where putting forward, and I do believe you are correct.

    ----- nwO ruoY evaH ,deeN oN <----?eeS I tahW eeS uoY oD
     
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