ABSTRACT

Psychoanalysts Emmanuel Ghent and Adam Phillips argue that needs do not exist independent of people choosing to call them needs. In calling something a need, a preference is misrepresented as necessity. Viewed rhetorically, the language of need functions as a way to establish and argue for priorities. The logic of need is the logic of a trope. Further, there is an inescapable mixing of need and neediness in which neediness serves as a defense that precludes people understanding what they might need. If we can never finally know what we need, then, we require a way of proceeding that, in the absence of knowledge, can investigate need. This provides the basis for a new understanding of rhetoric as the art that enables people to determine what they need to make their lives meaningful.

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