Autonomy and the authority of personal commitments: From internal coherence to social normativity

Philosophical Explorations 6 (2):90 – 108 (2003)
It has been argued - most prominently in Harry Frankfurt's recent work - that the normative authority of personal commitments derives not from their intrinsic worth but from the way in which one's will is invested in what one cares about. In this essay, I argue that even if this approach is construed broadly and supplemented in various ways, its intrasubjective character leaves it ill-prepared to explain the normative grip of commitments in cases of purported self-betrayal. As an alternative, I sketch a view that focuses on intersubjective constraints of intelligibility built into social practices and on the pragmatics of how those norms are contested in an ongoing fashion
Keywords Autonomy  Normativity  Charles Taylor  Harry Frankfurt  Second-order desires  Self-interpretation
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/10002003058538742
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 16,707
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

View all 32 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

76 ( #44,510 of 1,726,249 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

7 ( #99,332 of 1,726,249 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.