There is this idea that the deepest human need (need roughly meaning what is ultimately satisfying for a human) is to be unconditionally considered valuable by other minds. It falls into the framework that views "consciousnesses" and the qualities of the relations between "consciousnesses" as the chief perspective through which humanity can be understood.

What literature would be best suited to refine this understanding?

  • i'd suggest that putting a price-tag on a person is simply wrong – Yuri Alexandrovich Jul 24 '20 at 23:11
  • Something like this was defended by Kant (not in psychologistic terms like "needs" though), and is sometimes called the ethics of respect/recognition, see Stonestreet, Beyond Respect. But the relation to consciousness (as opposed to reason) is tangential, indeed consciousness or lack thereof is moot to either needs or duties. – Conifold Jul 25 '20 at 3:11
  • @Conifold Thanks. This is exactly what I needed. – Peter Pibb Jul 25 '20 at 4:56
  • @Conifold -- one the other hand, “Most excellent man, are you…not ashamed to care for the acquisition of wealth and for reputation and honor, when you neither care nor take thought for wisdom and truth and the perfection of your soul?” (Apology 29d) – Yuri Alexandrovich Jul 25 '20 at 20:28

From Jean-Paul Sartre's point of view, our human need for belonging is the fundamental driving force behind shame, and what gives it its ontological status.

Because of shame, I no longer exist in a state of transcendent consciousness, but am now self-conscious and reflexively self-aware. Sartre writes: ‘‘Thus the Other has not only revealed to me what I was; he has established me in a new type of being … I need the Other in order to realize to realize fully all the structures of my being’

Sartre employs the account of ‘the look,’ and concomitantly shame, as a multilayered metaphor. In some sense, he is being literal: sometimes I do need the other to judge me before I realize something about myself. In these cases, the seeming temporality of Sartre’s account, where I start as a self-contained transcendent subjectivity, and am transformed into a self-aware relational being, as a result of the objectifying look of the other, makes some sense.

Shame is the feeling of an original fall, not because of the fact that I may have committed this or that particular fault but simply that I have ‘fallen’ into the world in the midst of things and that I need the mediation of the Other in order to be what I am.

Sartre’s reference to an original fall indicates that the subject’s deepest desire is to become ‘‘like God,’’ or a being that is pure transcendence, impervious to the objectification of others.

The body symbolizes our vulnerability, neediness, physical desire and ultimately the lack of control we have over our own mortality. Hence the body, especially when it falls ill or fails us, is a powerful source and site of shame.

In fact, it is because of our ‘‘extreme vulnerability to others (in infancy for all one’s needs and in adulthood for one’s very sense of identity and worth)’’that shame experiences form part of the structure of our subjective and intersubjective being.

Sartre repeatedly asserts: ‘I need the mediation of the Other in order to be what I am’

Luna Dolezal, Shame, Vulnerability and Belonging: Reconsidering Sartre’s Account of Shame Hum Stud (2017) 40:421–438

In Nietzsche point of view about Human need is relates to "meaning".

Nietzsche claims that human beings have acquired a new need—indeed a new condition of existence—not shared with other animals. Meaning is a uniquely human need. Human beings must see their activity and their existence as meaningful because we are reflective creatures. We need to know why we exist and to see a reason for going on living, not just for the sake of self-preservation, but in order for us to thrive. Non-human animals lack a need for meaning. Nietzsche also claims that the need for meaning gradually developed, implying that human beings didn’t always have this need. Find meaning in our life often called as spritual need

Ph.D thesis: Nietzsche and the Pathologies of Meaning Jeremy James Forster

  • Thanks for your reply! While I found your response difficult to follow, the mention of 'extreme vulnerability to others' was rather interesting. From my experience, a 'sense of identity and worth' is not always recognized as the ultimate human need. Is this idea widely accepted in philosophic thought? – Peter Pibb Jul 25 '20 at 21:49

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