Show Summary Details

Quick Reference

Unfulfilled desires for oneself or for others. Since individuals commonly aim to satisfy their wants, want‐satisfaction may be a goal of public policy, either directly or through response to persons' interests. For example, Benthamite utilitarianism has been accused of seeing happiness as constituted by meeting desires. The ‘efficient’ satisfaction of wants is commonly taken to be a virtue of market allocation. The desire of individuals to satisfy their wants generates only a weak normative weight, however, since such want‐satisfaction may be inimical to the well‐being of the agent, or of other people. Hence there may be a conflict between individual freedom and welfare considerations, prompting the distinction between want‐regarding and ideal‐regarding principles.


Subjects: Politics.

Reference entries

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.