David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Inquiry 54 (5):478 - 493 (2011)
Abstract Modern reflection on the ideal of personal autonomy has its Western origin in the philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, where autonomy, or self-legislation, involves citizens joining together to make laws for themselves that reflect their collective understanding of the common good. Four features of this conception of autonomy continue to be relevant today. First, autonomy, a type of freedom, is introduced into modern philosophy in order to make up for a perceived deficiency, or incompleteness, in merely ?negative? freedom (the right to do as one pleases, unimpeded by others). Second, autonomy is taken to be not merely a complement of negative freedom but a higher, more valuable species of freedom. Third, at its origin personal autonomy is not conceived individualistically; rather, on Rousseau's account, autonomy is achievable only if citizens surrender part of their status as individuals and think of their social membership as essential, not merely accidental, to who they are. Finally, Rousseau's conception of autonomy is distinct from the contemporary ideal of autonomy defined as judging or deciding for oneself (according to one's own reason). Nevertheless, there is an important sense in which autonomy as Rousseau conceives it also requires the developed capacity for independent, self-determined judgment
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References found in this work BETA
Christine M. Korsgaard (1996). The Sources of Normativity. Cambridge University Press.
Joshua Cohen (2010). Rousseau: A Free Community of Equals. Oxford University Press.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1997). The Social Contract and Other Later Political Writings. Cambridge University Press.
Frederick Neuhouser (2008). Rousseau's Theodicy of Self-Love: Evil, Rationality, and the Drive for Recognition. Oxford University Press.
Citations of this work BETA
Michael Sonenscher (forthcoming). Jean-Jacques Rousseau and the Foundations of Modern Political Thought. Modern Intellectual History:1-27.
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