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Basic Human Needs

An Interdisciplinary and International View

Gerhard Schaefer

The sociological and psychological needs debates of the previous decades raised many questions about «need/desire/wish» on one side and «basic/elementary/peripheral/human» or «primary/secondary/tertiary» on the other. Many of these questions have not been satisfactorily answered so far, and one reason, among others, apparently is the lacking interdisciplinarity and internationality of the debates, in particular the frequent absence of biology, the «science of life», in the discourse. This book tries to fill the gap. Leading biologists and biology educators reflect their ideas on the requirements of homo sapiens, his general «life needs» and his specific «human needs», confronting them to philosophical, psychological and anthropological articles in the same book. An international comparative study of human desires in different countries, carried out by the Commission for Biological Education of IUBS (International Union of Biological Sciences), revealed an immense variance of desires according to economic state and cultural background of the populations under study. Beneath this variance, however, global features of basic human needs are visible which, in the light of the preceding theoretical considerations, give a strong impetus for a general «needs education» worldwide the aim of which can be increased autonomy of the citizen towards his/her own desires.
Contents: Universal Principles of Life - Human Ethology - Psychology of the Unconscious - Neurophysiology - Basic Need «Love» - Situational Theory - Mathematical Outline - Problem of «Satisfaction» - 9 Country Reports - Consequences for Education.