Wants, needs, and liberalism

Inquiry 14 (1-4):191 – 206 (1971)
Abstract
The author's main practical aim is to defend liberal doctrines to which he is committed against certain fashionable criticisms. An elucidation of human needs is offered. The key claim is that human needs entail human rights. It is argued that the account proposed fits Marx's conception of human needs, and that, therefore, Marx was implicitly committed to a theory of human rights. It is then argued that John Stuart Mill was also, though implicitly, committed to a theory of human needs. These conceptual and moral affinities help to explain why, in recent years, the two political traditions of which Marx and Mill were principal architects, have tended to converge in theory and in practice. The main shift in moral viewpoint has, however, been a movement by Marxists toward the sort of liberalism defended by Mill
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