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Summary Autonomy has played a role in moral and political thought throughout the modern era.  Immanuel Kant is perhaps only the most important historical thinker to contribute to its prominence.  The history of philosophy--from ancient philosophy forward--is full of discussions relevant to understanding autonomy and its roles.
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  1. Fred Adams (2001). Keith Lehrer, Self‐Trust: A Study of Reason, Knowledge, and Autonomy:Self‐Trust: A Study of Reason, Knowledge, and Autonomy. Ethics 111 (2):427-429.
  2. Robert Merrihew Adams (2004). Voluntarism and the Shape of a History. Utilitas 16 (2):124-132.
    This article is concerned with the shape of the story of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century moral philosophy as told by J. B. Schneewind in The Invention of Autonomy. After discussion of alternative possible shapes for such a story, the focus falls on the question to what extent, in Schneewind's account, strands of empiricist voluntarism and rationalist intellectualism are interwoven in Kant. This in turn leads to consideration of different types of voluntarism and their roles in early modern ethical theory. Correspondence:c1 robert.adams@mansfield.oxford.ac.uk.
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  3. Jeffrey C. Alexander (2013). The Dark Side of Modernity. Polity Press.
    Social theory between progress and apocalypse -- Autonomy and domination: Weber's cage -- Barbarism and modernity: Eisenstadt's regret -- Integration and justice: Parsons' utopia -- Despising others: Simmel's stranger -- Meaning evil -- De-civilizing the civil sphere -- Psychotherapy as central institution -- The frictions of modernity and their possible repair.
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  4. Henry E. Allison (2011). Kant's Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals: A Commentary. OUP Oxford.
    Henry E. Allison presents a comprehensive commentary on Kant's Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals (1785). It differs from most recent commentaries in paying special attention to the structure of the work, the historical context in which it was written, and the views to which Kant was responding. Allison argues that, despite its relative brevity, the Groundwork is the single most important work in modern moral philosophy and that its significance lies mainly in two closely related factors. The first is (...)
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  5. Peter Allmark (2008). An Aristotelian Account of Autonomy. Journal of Value Inquiry 42 (1):41-53.
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  6. Karl Ameriks (2003). On Being Neither Post- nor Anti-Kantian: A Reply to Breazeale and Larmore Concerning the Fate of Autonomy. Inquiry 46 (2):272 – 292.
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  7. Karl Ameriks (2000). Kant and the Fate of Autonomy: Problems in the Appropriation of the Critical Philosophy. Cambridge University Press.
    It has been argued that Kant's all-consuming efforts to place autonomy at the center of philosophy have had, in the long-run, the unintended effect of leading to the widespread discrediting of philosophy and of undermining the notion of autonomy itself. The result of this 'Copernican revolution' has seemed to many commentators the de-centring, if not the self-destruction, of the autonomous self. In this major reinterpretation of Kant and the post-Kantian response to his critical philosophy, Karl Ameriks argues that such a (...)
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  8. Robert Arp (2007). Vindicating Kant's Morality. International Philosophical Quarterly 47 (1):5-22.
    Among others, four significant criticisms have been leveled against Kant’s morality. These criticisms are that Kant’s morality lacks a motivational component, thatit ignores the spiritual dimensions of morality espoused by a virtue-based ethics, that it overemphasizes the principle of autonomy in neglecting the communal context of morality, and that it lacks a theological foundation in being detached from God. In this paper I attempt to show that, when understood in the broader context of his religious doctrines and the overall philosophical (...)
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  9. Blaise Bachofen, Sion Elbaz & Nicolas Poirier (eds.) (2008). Cornelius Castoriadis, Réinventer L'Autonomie. Editions du Sandre.
    Cet ouvrage rassemble les textes des interventions prononcées lors du colloque Cornelius Castoriadis. Réinventer l'autonomie qui s'est déroulé aux universités de Paris-VIII et de Cergy-Pontoise en mars 2007.
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  10. Tom Bailey (2002). Kant and Autonomy Conference. Kant-Studien 93 (4):488-490.
  11. Paula Banerjee & Samir Kumar Das (eds.) (2007/2008). Autonomy: Beyond Kant and Hermeneutics. Anthem Press.
    would suspect him of murdering them and would not spare him. So he too killed himself. Gods were very much disturbed by this sad incident and realized the ...
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  12. Bernard H. Baumrin (1977). Autonomy, Interest, and the Kantian Interpretation. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 2 (1):280-282.
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  13. Bernard H. Baumrin (1976). Autonomy in Rawls and Kant. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 1 (1):55-57.
  14. Anne Margaret Baxley (2012). The Problem of Obligation, the Finite Rational Will, and Kantian Value Realism. Inquiry 55 (6):567-583.
    Abstract Robert Stern's Understanding Moral Obligation is a remarkable achievement, representing an original reading of Kant's contribution to modern moral philosophy and the legacy he bequeathed to his later-eighteenth- and early-nineteenth-century successors in the German tradition. On Stern's interpretation, it was not the threat to autonomy posed by value realism, but the threat to autonomy posed by the obligatory nature of morality that led Kant to develop his critical moral theory grounded in the concept of the self-legislating moral agent. Accordingly, (...)
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  15. Kenneth Baynes (1995). Modernity as Autonomy. Inquiry 38 (3):289 – 303.
    In Modernism as a Philosophical Problem Robert Pippin offers an interpretation of post-Kantian continental philosophy that locates the project of autonomy or self-determination at the center of the modernity/postmodernity debate and presents Hegel as a kind of radical, post-Kantian modernist, whose philosophical "experiment" is preferable to more recent attempts to overcome or deconstruct metaphysics. I raise some questions about the adequacy of Pippin's interpretation of Hegel's notion of a rational justification, at least as it bears on his argument in the (...)
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  16. Anthony J. Beavers (1990). Freedom and Autonomy. Philosophy and Theology 5 (2):151-168.
    I argue that, despite their extensive disagreements at the level of first-order ethics, there are equally extensive agreements between Sartre and Kant at the metaethical level. Following a brief exposition of the principal metaethical similarities, I offer a defense of Sartre’s general moral theory against the more rigid first-order consequences which Kant claims to be able to assert.
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  17. James Bell (2007). Absolve You to Yourself: Emerson's Conception of Rational Agency. Inquiry 50 (3):234 – 252.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson famously warned his readers against the dangers of conformity and consistency. In this paper, I argue that this warning informs his engagement with and opposition to a Kantian view of rational agency. The interpretation I provide of some of Emerson's central essays outlines a unique conception of agency, a conception which gives substance to Emerson's exhortations of self-trust. While Kantian in spirit, Emerson's view challenges the requirement that autonomy requires acting from a conception of the law. The (...)
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  18. Christopher Bertram (forthcoming). Jean Jacques Rousseau. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau remains an important figure in the history of philosophy, both because of his contributions to political philosophy and moral psychology and because of his influence on later thinkers. Rousseau's own view of philosophy and philosophers was firmly negative, seeing philosophers as the post-hoc rationalizers of self-interest, as apologists for various forms of tyranny, and as playing a role in the alienation of the modern individual from humanity's natural impulse to compassion. The concern that dominates Rousseau's work is to (...)
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  19. Mark Bevir (1999). Foucault and Critique: Deploying Agency Against Autonomy. Political Theory 27 (1):65-84.
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  20. Heiner Bielefeldt (1997). Autonomy and Republicanism: Immanuel Kant's Philosophy of Freedom. Political Theory 25 (4):524-558.
  21. Ivan A. Boldyrev (2012). Kantian Ethics and Economics: Autonomy, Dignity, and Character (Review). Journal of the History of Philosophy 50 (2):298-299.
  22. Natalie Brender, Larry Krasnoff & J. B. Schneewind (eds.) (2004). New Essays on the History of Autonomy: A Collection Honoring J.B. Schneewind. Cambridge University Press.
    Kantian autonomy is often thought to be independent of time and place, but J. B. Schneewind in his landmark study, The Invention of Autonomy, has shown that there is much to be learned by setting Kant's moral philosophy in the context of the history of modern moral philosophy. The distinguished authors in the collection continue Schneewind's project by relating Kant's work to the historical context of his predecessors and to the empirical context of human agency. This will be a valuable (...)
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  23. David O. Brink (1986). Utilitarian Morality and the Personal Point of View. Journal of Philosophy 83 (8):417-438.
    Consideration of the objection from the personal point of view reveals the resources of utilitarianism. The utilitarian can offer a partial rebuttal by distinguishing between criteria of rightness and decision procedures and claiming that, because his theory is a criterion of rightness and not a decision procedure, he can justify agents' differential concern for their own welfare and the welfare of those close to them. The flexibility in utilitarianism's theory of value allows further rebuttal of this objection; objective versions of (...)
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  24. Klaus Brinkmann (2004). Review: Ameriks, Kant and the Fate of Autonomy. Review of Metaphysics 57 (4):824-826.
  25. William F. Bristow (2007). Hegel and the Transformation of Philosophical Critique. Oxford University Press.
    Hegel's objection -- Is Kant's idealism subjective? -- An ambiguity in 'subjectivism' -- The epistemological problem -- The transcendental deduction of the categories and subjectivism -- Are Kant's categories subjective? -- Hegel's suspicion : Kantian critique and subjectivism -- What is kantian philosophical criticism? -- Hegel's suspicion : initial formulation -- A shallow suspicion? -- Deepening the suspicion : criticism, autonomy, and subjectivism -- Directions of response -- Critique and suspicion : unmasking the critical philosophy -- Hegel's transformation of critique (...)
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  26. D. G. Brown (1989). More on Self-Enslavement and Paternalism in Mill. Utilitas 1 (01):144-.
  27. J. Patout Burns (1988). Augustine on the Origin and Progress of Evil. Journal of Religious Ethics 16 (1):9 - 27.
    Augustine distinguished apparent evil, conflict and corruption among bodies from true evil, the self-initiated corruption of created spirits. Angels and humans fail to maintain the perfection of knowledge and love given by God and then turn to themselves as the focus of attention and appreciation. The original failures of both demons and humans were neither provoked nor persuaded by any outside bodily or spiritual force: each was an autonomous and self-initiated sin of pride. This fundamental evil underlies and gives (...)
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  28. Bernard Carnois (1987). The Coherence of Kant's Doctrine of Freedom. University of Chicago Press.
    The term freedom appears in many contexts in Kant's work, ranging from the cosmological to the moral to the theological. Can the diverse meanings Kant gave to the term be ordered systematically? To ask that question is to test the consistency and coherence of Kant's thought in its entirety. Widely praised when first published in France, The Coherence of Kant's Doctrine of Freedom articulates and interrelates the disparate senses of freedom in Kant's work. Bernard Carnois organizes all Kant's usages into (...)
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  29. Matthew Caswell (2006). Kant's Conception of the Highest Good, the Gesinnung, and the Theory of Radical Evil. Kant-Studien 97 (2):184-209.
    Early in the Preface to Religion within the Limits of Reason Alone, Kant claims that “morality leads ineluctably to religion”. This thesis is hardly an innovation of the Religion. Again and again throughout the critical corpus, Kant argues that religious belief is ethically significant, that it makes a morally meaningful difference whether an agent believes or disbelieves. And yet these claims are surely among the most doubted of Kant's positions – and they are often especially doubted by readers who consider (...)
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  30. Michael Cholbi (2011). Suicide: The Philosophical Dimensions. Broadview Press.
    The Philosophical Dimensions Michael Cholbi. impermissible. Many Kantians, however, adopt what we could call a wide interpretation of autonomy. These Kantians remind us that autonomy is a capacity to make and be guided by our rational ...
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  31. Michael Cholbi (2000). Kant and the Irrationality of Suicide. History of Philosophy Quarterly 17 (2):159-176.
    Though Kant calls the prohibition against suicide the first duty of human beings to themselves, his arguments for this duty lack his characteristic rigor and systematicity. The lack of a single authoritative Kantian approach to suicide casts doubt on what is generally regarded as an extreme and implausible position, to wit, that not only is suicide wrong in every circumstance, but is among the gravest moral wrongs. Here I try to remedy this lack of systematicity in order to show that (...)
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  32. Kelly Coble (2004). Should Freedom Be the Ground of Morality? Idealistic Studies 34 (2):181-197.
    Hermann Cohen’s early interpretation of Kant’s theory of freedom anticipates contemporary interpretations in denying that freedom signifies a literal metaphysical power. Cohen would have been critical, however, of the view popular among contemporary Kantians that the concept of autonomy can be justified by a direct appeal to the standpoint of the one who exercises and evaluates conscious moral choices. Cohen rejects Kant’s own strategy of appealing to the moral law as a “revelation” of freedom, undertaking a strictly transcendental derivation of (...)
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  33. John M. Cooper (2003). Stoic Autonomy. Social Philosophy and Policy 20 (2):1-29.
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  34. John Cottingham (2008). Cartesian Reflections: Essays on Descartes's Philosophy. Oxford University Press.
    John Cottingham explores central areas of Descartes's rich and wide-ranging philosophical system, including his accounts of thought and language, of freedom and action, of our relationship to the animal domain, and of human morality and the conduct of life. He also examines ways in which his philosophy has been misunderstood. The Cartesian mind-body dualism that is so often attacked is only a part of Descartes's account of what it is to be a thinking, sentient, human creature, and the way he (...)
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  35. Ciaran Cronin (1996). Bourdieu and Foucault on Power and Modernity. Philosophy and Social Criticism 22 (6):55-85.
    Foucault's theory of disciplinary power and Bourdieu's theory of symbolic power are among the most innovative attempts in recent social thought to come to terms with the increasingly elusive character of power in modern society. Both theories are based on cri tiques of subject-centered analyses of power and offer original accounts of modern social institutions. But Foucault's critique of the subject is so radical that it makes it impossible to identify any deter minate social location of the exercise of power (...)
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  36. Stephen L. Darwall (1995). The British Moralists and the Internal "Ought", 1640-1740. Cambridge University Press.
    This book is a major work in the history of ethics, and provides the first study of early modern British philosophy in several decades. Professor Darwall discerns two distinct traditions feeding into the moral philosophy of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. On the one hand, there is the empirical, naturalist tradition, comprising Hobbes, Locke, Cumberland, Hutcheson, and Hume, which argues that obligation is the practical force that empirical discoveries acquire in the process of deliberation. On the other hand, there is (...)
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  37. John J. Davenport (2007). Augustine on Liberty of the Higher-Order Will. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 81:67-89.
    I have argued that like Harry Frankfurt, Augustine implicitly distinguishes between first-order desires and higher-order volitions; yet unlike Frankfurt, Augustineheld that the liberty to form different possible volitional identifications is essential to responsibility for our character. Like Frankfurt, Augustine recognizes that we can sometimes be responsible for the desires on which we act without being able to do or desire otherwise; but for Augustine, this is true only because such responsibility for inevitable desires and actions traces (at least in part) (...)
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  38. G. Scott Davis (2001). A Whig History of Ethics: A Review of "The Invention of Autonomy" by J. B. Schneewind. [REVIEW] Journal of Religious Ethics 29 (1):175 - 197.
    J. B. Schneewind's "The Invention of Autonomy" has been hailed as a major interpretation of modern moral thought. Schneewind's narrative, however, elides several serious interpretive issues, particularly in the transition from late medieval to early modern thought. This results in potentially distorted accounts of Thomas Aquinas, Hugo Grotius, and G. W. Leibniz. Since these thinkers play a crucial role in Schneewind's argument, uncertainty over their work calls into question at least some of Schneewind's larger agenda for the history of ethics.
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  39. Marcelo de Araujo (2003). Scepticism, Freedom, and Autonomy: A Study of the Moral Foundations of Descartes' Theory of Knowledge. Walter De Gruyter.
    In Scepticism, Freedom and Autonomy, Araujo argues against this interpretation, asserting that we retain control over our opinions only through selective ...
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  40. Katerina Deligiorgi (2012). The Scope of Autonomy: Kant and the Morality of Freedom. Oxford University Press.
    Katerina Deligiorgi offers a contemporary defence of autonomy which is Kantian but engages closely with recent arguments about agency, morality, and practical reasoning.
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  41. Douglas Den Uyl (2003). Autonomous Autonomy: Spinoza on Autonomy, Perfectionism, and Politics. Social Philosophy and Policy 20 (2):30-69.
  42. Andy Denis (1999). Was Adam Smith an Individualist? History of the Human Sciences 12 (3):71-86.
    Smith is generally regarded as an individualist without qualification. This paper argues that his predominantly individualist policy prescription is rooted in a more complex philosophy. He sees nature, including human nature, as a vast machine supervised by God and designed to maximise human happiness. Human weaknesses, as well as strengths, display the wisdom of God and play their part in this scheme. While Smith pays lip service to justice, it is really social order that pre-occupies him, and within that, the (...)
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  43. Lara Denis (2007). Kant's Formula of the End in Itself: Some Recent Debates. Philosophy Compass 2 (2):244–257.
    This is a survey article in which I explore some important recent work on the topic in question, Kant’s formula of the end in itself (or “formula of humanity”). I first provide an overview of the formulation, including what the formula seems roughly to be saying, and what Kant’s main argument for it seems to be. I then call the reader’s attention to a variety of questions one might have about the import of and argument for this formula, alluding to (...)
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  44. Lara Denis (2005). Autonomy and the Highest Good. Kantian Review 10 (1):33-59.
    Kant’s ethics conceives of rational beings as autonomous–capable of legislating the moral law, and of motivating themselves to act out of respect for that law. Kant’s ethics also includes a notion of the highest good, the union of virtue with happiness proportional to, and consequent on, virtue. According to Kant, morality sets forth the highest good as an object of the totality of all things good as ends. Much about Kant’s conception of the highest good is controversial. This paper focuses (...)
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  45. N. J. H. Dent (1999). The Invention of Autonomy: A History of Modern Moral Philosophy by J. B. Schneewind. Cambridge University Press, 1998, Pp. XXII + 624, £50.00, £16.95. [REVIEW] Philosophy 74 (3):446-460.
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  46. Rob Devos (2002). The Return of the Subject in Michel Foucault. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 76 (2):255-280.
    Foucault rejects the subject as a center, that is to say, as a transparent self-conscious being who gives meaning to his actions. However, ideas about subjects that are thinking and willing autonomously are still functioning within modern culture. Discourses on subjectivity thus call for an archeological and genealogical explanation. This compels Foucault to view subjectivity increasingly not only as a product and a target of power, but also as a source of resistance and as an agent; for Foucault defines power (...)
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  47. James DiCenso (2011). Kant, Religion, and Politics. Cambridge University Press.
    Machine generated contents note: 1. Introduction: on religion, ethics, and the political in Kant; 2. Religion, politics, enlightenment; 3. Knowledge and experience; 4. Illusions of metaphysics and theology; 5. Autonomy and judgment in Kant's ethics; 6. Ethics and politics in Kant's religion.
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  48. James DiCenso (2007). Kant, Freud, and the Ethical Critique of Religion. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 61 (3):161 - 179.
    This paper engages Freud’s relation to Kant, with specific reference to each theorist’s articulation of the interconnections between ethics and religion. I argue that there is in fact a constructive approach to ethics and religion in Freud’s thought, and that this approach can be better understood by examining it in relation to Kant’s formulations on these topics. Freud’s thinking about religion and ethics participates in the Enlightenment heritage, with its emphasis on autonomy and rationality, of which Kant’s model of practical (...)
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  49. T. Dickinson (2011). Repeating, Not Simply Recollecting, Repetition : On Kierkegaard's Ethical Exercises. Sophia 50 (4):657-675.
    This essay argues for a formative, and not simply abstract, aspect to the philosophy of religion by attending to the practices of writing employed in Søren Kierkegaard’s pseudonymous work Repetition . By locating this text within an ethical tradition that focuses upon the practices that form subjects, rather than simply the formulation of a theory, its seemingly literary performances can be viewed as exercises. In particular, this text deploys and transforms the Stoic practices of self writing, in the form of (...)
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  50. Kevin E. Dodson (1997). Autonomy and Authority in Kant's Rechtslehre. Political Theory 25 (1):93-111.
    In the short essay on theory and practice, Kant declares that the social contract differs from all other types of contracts in that agreement to its is obligatory and may be exacted through the use of force. In this paper, I examine Kant's justification of the moral necessity of civil society. Kant locates the ground of our obligation to enter into a civil union in the necessity of property for action and civil society as the necessary condition of the institution (...)
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