Braybrooke on needs

Ethics 104 (4):811-823 (1994)
Abstract
In 'Meeting Needs', Braybrooke argues that a new and improved version of utilitarianism can be constructed around making a priority of satisfying needs. In this paper I concentrate on Braybrooke's suggestion about the method for determining needs, and more generally, the method of settling issues concerning matters of need. (This emphasis is chosen since these problems are most devastating to his project as currently formulated.) I argue that Braybrooke's method is seriously flawed. Braybrooke believes that the process for settling issues concerning needs guarantees consensus and fairness. I refute this claim by showing that a number of assumptions crucial to Braybrooke's method are unwarranted. In addition, I show that these and other structural defects in the method are such that Braybrooke's account is guilty of paternalism and "fraud", despite his attempts to avoid these charges. I also indicate why similar methods are unlikely to meet with success.
Keywords Meeting Needs  David Braybrooke
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