Essay heading: Marcuse's Account of the Features and Significance of True and False N

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February 7, 2001






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Because they are imposed on human mentality rather then inherent in the human condition, the needs which arise within an individual in this way are not truly necessary. Marcuse's term for these unnecessary needs is "false needs." It seems a feature of his definition that "false needs" are distinguished by their being imposed on the individual by social interests beyond her own control...
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To this definition Marcuse adds the contention that such needs are invariably harmful, a point which requires empirical support. He writes that these conditioned needs are "the needs which perpetuate toil, aggressiveness, misery, and injustice" (5). How does this happen? One can view Marcuse's account of the harm arising from the creation of false needs as a direct response to an anticipated objection by an adherent of liberal political theory...
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