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BENEFICENCE IGNATIEFF OFF NOVDEC 2011
INDEX.................................................................................................................1 DIFFICULT TO DETERMINE/DEFINE “NEEDS”..............................................................2 SOCIETAL CONSENSUS LINK....................................................................................3 DEFINING “NEEDS” NEGATES MORAL OBLIGATION......................................................4
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relative and historical. solidarity and the politics of being human. All we have to go on is the historical record of what men have valued most in human life. p. In the end. 15 individuals have different needs.] human needs in terms of basic necessities. Professor Human Rights Policy-Kennedy School of Government.Sacred Heart AT BENEFICENCE IGNATIEFF OFF NOVDEC 2011 DIFFICULT TO DETERMINE/DEFINE “NEEDS” Needs vary among individuals. clothing. it is for reasons which go beyond the happiness it brings. the rootedness. The Needs of Strangers: An essay on privacy. some pursue riches. Nor can it be based on the priority of happiness as the ultimate human end. Harvard. Professor Human Rights Policy-Kennedy School of Government. it gives us with others. after all. while others pursue knowledge. respect. be premised on the absolute priority of liberty. There cannot be any eternally valid account of what it means to be human. but what they need in order to realize the full extent of their potential. The advantage of this way of thinking is that it seeks to reconcile a theory of the good essential requirements of a decent life – love. solidarity and the politics of being human. and there has always been fierce controversy over the level at which basic entitlements should be set in any society. shelter. with the freedom of each individual to live his life as he chooses. There is not just one good human life. while others seem content with a purely private existence. solidarity with others – cannot be sensibly justified as necessary for personal freedom. What we need in order to survival. solidarity and the politics of being human. Many of the things we need most deeply in life—love chief among them—do not necessarily bring us happiness. How much more controversial must be [is] the definition of need as the conditions for human flourishing. it is for the connection. then debate whether they are entitled to these goods as a matter of right. Harvard. while others do not. I think. some need citizenship. The question is whether that the word to When we talk about needs we mean something more than just basic necessities of human survival. power. Who is to say which is the truer path to human fulfillment? If human nature is historical. ‘ . a theory of human needs has to be premised on some set of choices about what humans need in order to be human: not what they need to be happy or free. 1984. The Needs of Strangers: An essay on privacy. I need to be loved to be at peace with myself and to be able to love in turn. 15 is all a human being needs. Ignatieff Michael Ignatieff. Professor Human Rights Policy-Kennedy School of Government. Ignatieff Michael Ignatieff. 15 It is common knowledge in the language of rights to define essential requirements –“basic goods. Michael Modern welfare may not be generous by any standard other than a comparison with the nineteenth century workhouse. Both sides assume that what they need is income. What almost never gets asked is whether they might need something more than the means of mere survival. food. Harvard. We also use describe what a person needs in order to live to their full potential. The aged poor on my street get just enough to survive. It seems a fact of life that (__) It is difficult to determine an objective conception of need. p. It is difficult enough to define (__) And. since these are subsidiary goals. but it does attempt to satisfy a wide range of basic needs for food. warmth and medical care. Ignatieff Ignatieff. 1984. p.2 - . The disadvantage [of this] is that many If we need them. 1984. sex. shelter and medical care.” as John Rawls calls them –as necessary preconditions for personal freedom. There are good reasons for this silence. individuals have different histories and therefore different needs. Some people need religious consolation. clothing. but many. it is to go to the depth of our being. and whether there are adequate [And. The political arguments between right and left over the future of the welfare state which rage over these old people’s heads almost always take their needs entirely for granted. If we need love. These are. to learn as much of ourselves as we can stand. Who is to say what humans need to accomplish all the finest purposes they can set for themselves? resources to provide them if they are. to be reconciled to what we find in ourselves and in those around us. I don’t need to be loved in order to be free.there’s no non-arbitrary way to determine their respective values. and what we need in order to flourish are two different things. The question is whether they get what they need in order to live a human life. reject conceptions of need based on freedom or happiness. A theory of the human good cannot. even danger. The Needs of Strangers: An essay on privacy.
own beliefs and our own vocation of the solidarity of the Islamic or Stalinist few of us would exchange theocracies of the modern age. a market society leaves it up to each of us to find work capable of satisfying our needs for purpose and meaning. p. solidarity and the politics of being human. 15 If this is all we can say about human needs.have passed into the domain of private choice. The Needs of Strangers: An essay on privacy. rather than the enactment of some vision of what their needs might be. This is the core of the liberal creed in politics. then it seems to follow that the proper domain of politics ought to be the satisfaction of people’s expressed desires. some of our most durable historical needs – for consolation and ultimate explanation -. By and large. the freedom to choose our . 1984. It draws a line between the needs which can be made a matter of public entitlement and those which must be left to the private self to satisfy. Ignatieff Michael Ignatieff. Likewise.Sacred Heart AT BENEFICENCE IGNATIEFF OFF NOVDEC 2011 SOCIETAL CONSENSUS LINK Asserting social consensus on what constitutes “need” undermines individual freedom. Harvard. it will jeopardize the freedom of individuals to choose their needs as they see fit.3 - . A free society can stand for justice—for the idea that private preferences should not result in harm to others – but if it stands for more than justice. Since the disestablishment of the churches and the granting of rights of toleration. Professor Human Rights Policy-Kennedy School of Government.
15 representation of the needs of strangers would not merely be perilous. All human Michael Ignatieff. Consistent moral behavior itself would be impossible unless there were some minimum degree of agreement. p. solidarity and the politics of being human. 15 The duties of this second sort are those of justice—regard to the property of others. Professor Human Rights Policy-Kennedy School of Government. observance of promises and contracts. they can agree on the minimum preconditions of moral behavior. therefore. and so on. . in institutions of justice and property. virtue.Sacred Heart AT BENEFICENCE IGNATIEFF OFF NOVDEC 2011 DEFINING “NEEDS” NEGATES MORAL OBLIGATION (__) Reject the Aff. Ignatieff Policy-Kennedy School of Government. Harvard. Harvard. if human needs were infinitely contestable.4 - . Professor Human Rights morality. Ignatieff Michael Ignatieff. and in rules of moral conduct. solidarity and the politics of being human. in particular their obligation to relieve the needs of others in distress. The second question I asked myself was whether it was possible to define what human beings need in order to flourish. they could make minimal binding agreements about what they all needed. Consciousness of necessity guides human conduct in a universe whose ultimate purpose is wrapped in darkness. p.you can’t have a moral obligation without a consistent definition of “need”. our beliefs about the necessities of human society. order and progress depend. within a given society. Awareness of our common necessities makes us capable of grasping the intelligibility of each other’s conduct and thus of trusting each other. grounded solely in the facts of human need and human belief. The Needs of Strangers: An essay on privacy. it would be impossible. as to the necessary preconditions of human flourishing. Hume maintained that while individuals might disagree interminably about the proper objects of human desire. A secular ethics. derives from our natural needs or our social ones. 1984. In fact politics as such would be impossible unless individual preferences could recognize themselves and unite under a common banner of need. for human conduct as one grounded in the idea that we owe an account of the stewardship of our lives to our Master. The common belief in the utility of these arrangements is then undergirded by the natural human attributes of pity and sympathy reinforced by habit and custom. is as solid a basis On this human capacity to agree on the identity of human need. Since people share the same needs. The (__) Morality requires agreement on human needs. The Needs of Strangers: An essay on privacy. 1984.
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