The Instigator
Pro (for)
3 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Needs only exist within the context of a desire.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/2/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 744 times Debate No: 32000
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (1)




This debate is designed to determine whether or not there is such thing as a need outside of the context of a want. I will be arguing that such a thing is not logically possible.

1. First round-acceptance
2. Second round-opening arguments
3. Third round- closing arguments


Challenge accepted.
Debate Round No. 1


Within desires, requisites exist in order to make the desire into a reality should the requisites be fulfilled. For example, if someone wants the television remote to work, they will need working batteries in it. There is a theoretical limitless end of desire and needs, but the desire is always the parent of the need; never the other way around.

The most common referenced definitions of needs are listed as things necessary to survival (food, water, etc.). However, survival itself is not a requirement; it is a desire. Even if somehow, one's survival was necessary for the existence as something as massive as the entire universe, the survival of the person would become a need, yes, but the need would only exist because of the desire to keep the universe in existence.


Just because needs can exist within desires doesn't mean they only exist within them.

Needs such as food water and shelter are necessary even for those suffering from anorexia nervosa with no desire for it whatsoever.

Additionally are people who suffer from Binge eating disorder (BED) which essentially means they always feel as if they are starving despite actually needing to reduce their diet.
Debate Round No. 2


If there are those who have no desire for those things, then they certainly do not need them. For example, if I have no desire to live, how could I need to live? Even if there were a scientist who had the cure for cancer, but was about to die before sharing it, that does not mean he needs to live. Most people would want him to live, but it is only due to the desire to have the cure. The idea that people suffering from eating disorders need to change their diet is not a need; it is a desire because we want them to live and be healthy. Our survival would, presumably, not depend on their survival and even if it did, since survival is a desire, not a requirement, my claim remains true.

People suffering from BED will overeat because of an overwhelming desire to eat. However, they do not need to reduce their diet. It would beneficial to their health, sure, but being healthy is not a requirement. People only perceive that to be the case due to their desire for people to be generally health.


Very clever twist on things until you realise that the need to be healthy originates in science and survival of the fittest as opposed to desire.
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by Controverter 4 years ago
Well said, Pennington.
Posted by Pennington 4 years ago
I could not want to eat but I still need to eat.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by PurpleDrink 4 years ago
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Con really couldn't win. You have to define need separate and independent from desire by accepting refutable absolutes like religious law as premises. But he accepted, so here's my vote.