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The term “need” is usually referred to as something necessary for an individual’s survival, and it can include things such as food, water, shelter and clothing. However, the idea of need can also be applied to a person’s emotional or psychological needs. The concept of need has become a subject of study in a wide range of academic fields, including philosophy, biology, psychology, social science, economics and marketing.
Defining the meaning of need can be challenging, as it has different meanings in various contexts. The word is used as a verb as well as a noun, and it can mean something that is required or desirable, or it can describe a feeling of desire or deprivation. Some scholars have attempted to identify the exact nature of human needs, using various methods such as rational identification of needs, consideration of an individual’s real-life experiences, and democratic decision-making. One such approach is the capability theory developed by Amartya Sen and Martha Nussbaum.
In linguistics, the notion of need is often contrasted with the notion of want. Needs are typically considered to be a matter of survival, while wants are seen as a matter of preference or desire. However, in many cultures, the terms are intertwined, with the distinction between needs and wants being more of a continuum than a strict dichotomy.
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, need is a “physical or psychological requirement for an organism’s well being. It may be a limiting factor in an individual’s behavior or an essential part of an individual’s identity. The word need is also sometimes viewed as a motivational force, influencing an individual’s action toward the fulfillment of needs and wants.”
A need can be met in different ways depending on its nature and urgency. Some of these needs are more basic, such as the need for air and water, while others are more complex, such as a person’s need for socialization and self-esteem. Some of these needs are innate, while others are learned through experience.
The need for something can also refer to a desire for it. For example, a student may feel the need for knowledge in order to achieve their educational goals. The need for love or money can also motivate an individual to take action in pursuing their desires. The need for power can be motivating as well, as it can allow a person to exert influence over others. The need for recognition can also drive people to seek out success, whether or not this is a legitimate goal. The etymology of the word need is also interesting, with its roots in Latin and Greek. The word can also be found in German and Dutch. In addition, the concept of need is reflected in the art forms of painting and sculpture.