The Voice of Time wrote:Okay, I'm gonna explain it in one sentence:
The science of needs studies whether, how and where something exists in time with certain properties, and the conditions for how to make it continue or stop doing it.
Okay, give me a simple example of this in action.
The Voice of Time wrote:But that's just the scientific part, there's also the philosophical part which introduces a particular way of understanding needs, and which is necessary to fully understand it as "a science of needs", and not a science of something else.
Okay, give me an example of this understanding as applied to a need you've had.
I am on a far away island, far away from other people.
This island has all the basic supplies I need to survive. A variety of food sources, clean drinking water, and materials of reasonable quality for building a reasonably good habitat.
I have a book with me.
In it, I start to describe initially what I'm lacking. Because even though my resources are available on the island, I've yet to collect, store and/or prepare them. The way I describe what I'm lacking, is based upon what my body tells me that it lacks through ways that make me believe, partially or fully, that I need it. But it is also based upon what my mind tells me that it is lacking.
As a precondition for anything to be a need, it must also not
be a method for satisfying another need. Meaning that a need cannot also be a solution.
It is also a precondition that any need be private and unique, and not subject to anything but the basic individual understanding of what it is that is needed, meaning the need cannot be truthfully described in language (a truth I learned from Wittgenstein btw).
Finally, there is a precondition that the need be independent of what else is needed. The need must stand out for itself, and, as a thought experiment, and all else being equal, it must be such that if all the other needs were gone, I would still consider this thing a need.
Now I start detailing all these needs. I find out that unless I get some food, I would attain a feeling of fatigue, which I do not want. And if the food is too boring, it will make me feel depressed, which I do not want. These are some examples of needs. Because language cannot adequately describe what is really needed, we'll abstract this reality and tag this as being about "decent food".
Now I have to select what is the most pressing
, I have to analyse and find out which problem, which need, is either active and "talking loudest" for me to do something about it, or which need is the first upcoming. At this point, we're talking about things that we take for already being known, this is a mere modelling of the status of our needs.
of needs, comes into play, when we start finding out which conditions are necessary to achieve a lasting satisfaction of this need. A satisfaction that stays, makes the need be perpetually satisfied. To find out this, you would have to utilize other natural sciences first to figure out what you're dealing with, and then you can study what "certainties", what things of any particular quality, must be in place for this condition to be met. These "certainties" could be any configuartion of the natural world that makes this particular condition be met. The conditions, and the sets, are abstractions, they are not "real" things that we can talk about really, you can't name them in any way that makes sense, you can only define them for what they do, and how they differ from any other set or condition.
Now back to making it "simple", sry but there is no reason for talking about this if we don't have basic concepts on the table.
This need of "decent food" is really just, in fact, a condition itself! It is a condition for the machinery that is you and which makes you take influences and produce imperatives from them... in a way I'm saying the rest of world gives you an order, and you follow it, and the order is the need. That is, this top thing is what defines a person, you could say. So at the top is a "you", then it is the things we can call "proper needs", then there are anything which makes those proper needs "satisfied", and then there is the things that make certain that this satisfaction is perpetuated. It is a nice hierarchy in a way, with many siblings on every level (and as a side-note, there is no end to how deep the roots of the hierarchy can reach).
Now I think you want this to be sciency, so I'm not gonna talk about how you handle the information, because that's a bit of field of itself, but rather how you acquire it. Well you study time, and you study what is there, and how is it. You look at it, measure it, sense it, take note of it. If there is a situation you want to produce, and you know how, you can make it happen, and then have somebody take note of what makes this situation stop being the case, or in other words: this arrangement of nature (the situation), is no longer part of the present. It is a generic approach, you are not interested in finding out anything more specific that what simply triggers something to be in time in a particular configuration.
With the decent food, you can check how many types of trips you can make from your house into nature, and come back with what is necessary to maintain to satisfy your "decent food" issue, and then you can make those trips, and find out which trips, and under which conditions, will not be achieved. And for those that are achieved, you can ask yourself how long it will last, and what processes are involved in making it progress towards not being the case.
See, you are always after the ways of study, that will make it possible for you to have a predictable continuation of a satisfaction of a need. BUT, needs also change, and because of this, human beings will shift between different needs all the time. Some return periodically, and some are just there to stay for a moment. Therefore, we can also study what influences there are on the body that causes it to change its needs, and how often this happens, so as to predict when new needs arise and why. And I don't mean that you suddenly need to go to the toilet, that is a need you always have, it's just that it's satisfied most of them time.
No I mean instead when a person for instance acquire an affection for something or someone. Or in some way, gets convinced, that something has value in and of itself, and that it must therefore be continually, perpetually satisfied. By controlling ourselves we can avoid acquiring many such needs, and that helps us feeling more satisfied in life by making the task of satisfying ourselves smaller. But some we can't control. This person, I can tempt myself with tropical drugs from local plants or I can choose to become close to an item for instance (think Cast Away and the guy with the coconut friend), and this expands the range of things that make up what needs I have. (This principle here by the way, of reducing needs, I learned from studies into chinese zen buddhism).
In my little book, I can now describe how I can set up a routine, for psychological preparation, logistical solutions, and so forth, to solve this and other needs. I study myself to find out how I vary, and thereby prepare for how I might change over time, either back and forth or in some general direction, and I make a smooth process of making sure that all of my problems are solved and remain solved as I make predictable changes.
If you're not satisfied now by this example, I'm giving up. It takes too much time and energy for me to produce this, and give it the quality assurance that I want it to have, and so forth. But if anything was unclear, please feel free to ask questions that delve deeper on the subject, just don't ask me start over again with another totally different one. When we talk, we need a platform, a common ground we can discuss, or else we're wasting time debating the surface. This is that platform.