The uses of hierarchy: Autonomy and valuing

Philosophical Explorations 5 (3):167 – 185 (2002)
Autonomy and valuing are two significant practical phenomena that have been analysed in terms of higher-order wanting. I argue that reference to higher-order capacities is indeed required to make sense of both concepts, but also that such analyses need a more differentiated understanding of "wanting to want" than has hitherto been proposed. Central for autonomy is the instantiation of four types of optative relationship by an accountable agent under conditions of rationality. Valuing requires the disposition to instantiate only one of the relevant structures. Clarity on this allows an analysis of the precise relationships between the two phenomena.
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