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By Len Doyal

Rejecting trendy subjectivist and cultural relativist techniques, this significant booklet argues that people have common and aim wishes for well-being and autonomy and a correct to their optimum pride. The authors boost a procedure of social symptoms to teach what such optimization might suggest in perform and determine the documents of quite a lot of built and underdeveloped economies in assembly their electorate' wishes

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The same point may be made about a host of other commonly perceived needs. Because the final goal toward which they are directed is not necessarily made explicit. such needs are believed to be goals in their own right rather than what they actually entail - various strategies linked by a common goal believed to be universalisable. So what in some circumstances may be referred to as goals will in others be described as strategies. Food, shelter or clothing, for example, can be referred to in either way.

One cannot be be mistaken in the same sense about a want, provided that some understandable reason is given for it. If, for example. you say that you want another MacDonald's burger because you like their taste and texture, others may not agree. However, it is unclear what it would mean for them to claim that you are wrong: you have given your reasons and they are perfectly intelligible. ' For here reference is made to what is agreed to be necessary to maintain the individual in an 'acceptable' state which avoids the prospect of serious harm.

82). Since there is no escape from the rules and discourse of one's form of life, there is no neutral reality to which one can turn to assess which approach to need satisfaction is 'best'. Thus different ways of conceptualising purity and danger, for example, lead to 44 Relativism and the Problem of Human Need conflicting beliefs about what sorts of food are clean and needed and which are unclean and harmful (Douglas, 1966, chs 1-3; cf. Douglas, 1975, pp. 47-59). The fact is that members of different cultures just do find different things morally outrageous, as sometimes do individuals within the same culture.

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