A discussion of need and insatiability

Yunou Gong

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

144 Downloads (Pure)


This thesis discusses the relationship between insatiability and needs through a review of several philosophers’ works. It is driven by the question: how much is enough? The thesis has two parts. The first part examining Baudrillard’s theory, especially his critique of Marx. I accept his view that needs are insatiable because they are incessant constructions in value systems. He argues for a logical alternative to production, but I argue the key problem is that individuals do not want the alternative and individuals’ capability to choose an alternative is conditional. His theory is thus flawed. The second part of this thesis explores other ways to deal with the relationship between individuals and systems. This part explores three types of guarantors in three situations. It firstly discusses Christian theorist Søren Kierkegaard’s view on God. His view provides a situation in which the guarantor is outside value systems. The thesis then reviews the debates over money, which is a situation where the guarantor is embodied in the value system. Finally, I review Adrian Johnston and Samo Tomšič’s views on the relationship between insatiability and capitalism. Both draw on Lacanian psychoanalysis which provides a situation in which individuals do not seek to abandon the system but recognise its vanity. The thesis concludes that an individual cannot end insatiable needs by finding the ultimate reason to stop, because insatiability is an effect of an individual’s use of a system and the system is endorsed by the individual him/herself. When an individual leaves the value system, he/she defines how much is enough by and for him/herself.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Bradshaw, Alan, Supervisor
  • du Gay, Paul, Supervisor
Award date1 Oct 2022
Publication statusSubmitted - 23 Sept 2022

Cite this