Edited by Andrew Jason Cohen (Georgia State University, Georgetown University)
About this topic
Summary Autonomy is one of the most often discussed topics in modern and contemporary philosophy.  It is key to some moral theories, some political philosophies, and, of course, central to understanding the nature of personhood.  Unsurprisingly, then, there are significant disagreements about the nature of autonomy.  There are thinner and thicker understandings of autonomy throughout the literature.  There are moral and political demands that autonomy be protected or promoted.  Its use as a central value in applied ethics is standard.  Generally speaking, then, there are disagreements about what autonomy is and how and why it matters in moral theory and political philosophy.
Key works It is difficult to say what would count as a "key work" here.  Historically, Kant is likely the most important author to consider.  His deontological moral theory rests on a particularly thick conception of autonomy. For a detailed historical overview of autonomy in modern philosophy, it may be best to start with J.B. Schneewind's 1998 The Invention of Autonomy.
Introductions Perhaps the best place to start considering the nature of autonomy is Stephen Darwall's 2006. See also John Christman's SEP entry.
Related categories

6247 found
1 — 50 / 6247
Material to categorize
  1. Parental Rights and the Importance of Being Parents.Liam Shields - 2017 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 22 (2):1-15.
  2. Parental Rights and the Importance of Being Parents.Liam Shields - 2017 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 22 (2):1-15.
  3. Politics Beyond Persons.Sharon R. Krause - 2017 - Political Theory:009059171665151.
  4. Negativität: Kunst - Recht - Politik.Thomas Khurana, Dirk Quadflieg, Dirk Setton, Francesca Raimondi & Juliane Rebentisch - 2018 - Berlin, Deutschland: Suhrkamp.
    Gegen die verbreitete Vorstellung, dass Negativität im Interesse von mehr Selbstverwirklichung, Produktivität und Positivität überwunden oder begrenzt werden muss, eröffnet dieser Band eine andere Perspektive. Er geht den verschiedenen Formen des Negativen in Kunst, Recht und Politik nach, um zu zeigen, dass es nicht allein eine Negativität gibt, die dem Gelingen im Weg steht oder zu dessen sicher beherrschtem Mittel wird. Die Beiträge des Bandes erweisen Negativität vielmehr als eine Kraft der Befreiung, die ein Gelingen anderer Art ermöglicht.
  5. Agency, Complicity, and the Responsibility to Resist Structural Injustice.Corwin Aragon & Alison M. Jaggar - 2018 - Journal of Social Philosophy 49 (3):439-460.
  6. Christian Philosophy and the Christian Life.Kyla Ebels-Duggan - forthcoming - In J. Aaron Simmons (ed.), Christian Philosophy: Conception, Continuations, and Challenges. New York, NY, USA:
    I consider how Christian philosophers should decide which questions are worth asking. I provide an interpretation and defense of Alvin Plantinga’s claim that Christian philosophers should strive for autonomy, and argue that this rules out some ways of settling on our questions. I then argue that the questions in which Christian philosophers should take an interest are those arising from or continuous with a distinctively Christian way of life.
  7. Islamist Women's Agency and Relational Autonomy.Ranjoo Seodu Herr - 2018 - Hypatia 33 (2):195-215.
    Mainstream conceptions of autonomy have been surreptitiously gender-specific and masculinist. Feminist philosophers have reclaimed autonomy as a feminist value, while retaining its core ideal as self-government, by reconceptualizing it as “relational autonomy.” This article examines whether feminist theories of relational autonomy can adequately illuminate the agency of Islamist women who defend their nonliberal religious values and practices and assiduously attempt to enact them in their daily lives. I focus on two notable feminist theories of relational autonomy advanced by Marina Oshana (...)
  8. Democratic Care and Intellectual Disability: More Than Maintenance.Stacy Clifford Simplican - forthcoming - Ethics and Social Welfare:1-16.
  9. Making Whirligigs.Minnie Bruce Pratt - 2005 - Feminist Studies 31 (3):552.
  10. Case Study: Before He Wakes.Hilde Lindemann & Daniel Callahan - 2005 - Hastings Center Report 35 (4):15.
  11. Case Study: The VIP Floors.Yali Cong, Linying Hu & James Dwyer - 2005 - Hastings Center Report 35 (1):16.
  12. Book ReviewsR. Kevin Hill,. Nietzsche’s Critiques: The Kantian Foundations of His Thought.Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003. Pp. 264. $72.00 ; $35.00. [REVIEW]Ariela Tubert - 2006 - Ethics 116 (4):789-791.
  13. Freedom Without Being: Kant’s Corrective as the Philosophical Crux of Agamben’s ‘Homo Sacer’ Series.Susan D. Brophy - 2016 - European Journal of Political Theory:147488511667354.
    In Giorgio Agamben’s eyes, Immanuel Kant’s work is the modern philosophical harbinger of the catastrophic ‘state of exception’. By focusing on the latter’s ‘author/subject corrective’, I make the connection between Agamben and Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason more apparent. In doing so, I show how Kant’s corrective instrumentalises autonomy in such a way that it compromises the validity it seeks to rationalise; it does so by separating the individual from actuality, by ostracising law from political challenge, and by conflating individual (...)
  14. All in the Family? Species Aristocratism in the Return of Human Dignity.Diego Rossello - 2017 - Political Theory 45 (6):749-771.
    Human dignity is making a comeback. The essay focuses on the story that this comeback of human dignity presupposes and recasts. In that story, the “human family” is portrayed in terms of aristocratic dignitas. The consequences are twofold: human dignity is co-implicated with the de-animalization of the human being; once de-animalization is introduced, the story of human dignity cultivates an aristocratic sense of elevation of the human over other species, or what I will call “species aristocratism.” The fact that a (...)
  15. Rational Persuasion, Paternalism, and Respect.Ryan W. Davis - 2017 - Res Publica 23 (4):513-522.
    In ‘Rational Persuasion as Paternalism', George Tsai argues that providing another person with reasons or evidence can be a morally objectionable form of paternalism. I believe Tsai’s thesis is importantly correct, denying the widely accepted identification of rational persuasion with respectful treatment. In this comment, I disagree about what is centrally wrong with objectionable rational persuasion. Contrary to Tsai, objectionable rational persuasion is not wrong because it undermines the value of an agent’s life. It is wrong because it is contrary (...)
  16. Book Review: Crisis of Authority: Politics, Trust, and Truth-Telling in Freud and Foucault, by Nancy LuxonCrisis of Authority: Politics, Trust, and Truth-Telling in Freud and Foucault, by LuxonNancy. 379 Pp. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013. [REVIEW]Renée Heberle - 2017 - Political Theory 45 (4):566-570.
  17. Privacy and Self-Presentation.Juha Räikkä - 2017 - Res Publica 23 (2):213-226.
    It has often been argued that one of the reasons why we should value privacy is that it enables self-presentation and impression management. According to this approach, it is valuable to be able to govern the impression one gives, as the capacity to govern impressions is an instrument by which people take care of their various social relationships. In this paper I will take a closer look at that approach on privacy, with specific reference to the alleged threats to privacy (...)
  18. Brain Privacy and the Case of Cannibal Cop.Mark Tunick - 2017 - Res Publica 23 (2):179-196.
    In light of technology that may reveal the content of a person’s innermost thoughts, I address the question of whether there is a right to ‘brain privacy’—a right not to have one’s inner thoughts revealed to others–even if exposing these thoughts might be beneficial to society. I draw on a conception of privacy as the ability to control who has access to information about oneself and to an account that connects one’s interest in privacy to one’s interests in autonomy and (...)
  19. Monistic Dualism and the Body Electric: An Ontology of Disease, Patient and Clinician for Person-Centred Healthcare.Alexandra Pârvan - 2016 - Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 22 (4):530-538.
  20. Self-Tracking for Health and the Quantified Self: Re-Articulating Autonomy, Solidarity, and Authenticity in an Age of Personalized Healthcare.Tamar Sharon - 2017 - Philosophy and Technology 30 (1):93-121.
    Self-tracking devices point to a future in which individuals will be more involved in the management of their health and will generate data that will benefit clinical decision making and research. They have thus attracted enthusiasm from medical and public health professionals as key players in the move toward participatory and personalized healthcare. Critics, however, have begun to articulate a number of broader societal and ethical concerns regarding self-tracking, foregrounding their disciplining, and disempowering effects. This paper has two aims: first, (...)
  21. Autonomy and Toleration as a Moral Attitude.Ryan W. Davis - 2017 - Journal of Social Philosophy 48 (1):92-116.
  22. Why I Cannot Dance the Tango: Reflections of an Incompetent Member of the “Milongas Porteñas”.Carlos Belvedere - 2016 - Schutzian Research 8:179-200.
    The purpose of this paper is to discuss the idea that members are fully competent at what they do. With that aim, I start with a Schutzian and Ethno­methodological account of what it is like to be a member of the tango scene in the dance halls of Buenos Aires. I specify different degrees and kinds of competences. On the one hand, there are fully competent members and incompetent members. The incompetent members are the vast majority in comparison to the (...)
  23. A New bridgeAllenAmy, The Politics of Our Selves: Power, Autonomy, and Gender in Contemporary Critical Theory.Giovanna Borradori - 2012 - Philosophy and Social Criticism 38 (7):745-752.
  24. Rethinking Freedom of Contract.Jessica Flanigan - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (2):443-463.
    Many liberal egalitarians support laws that prevent people from making exploitative and unconscionable contracts. These contracts may include low-wage labor agreements or payday loans, for example. I argue that liberal egalitarians should rethink their support for laws that limit the freedom to make these illiberal contracts, as long as the contracts are voluntary and do not violate people’s other enforceable rights. Paternalistic considerations cannot justify limits on illiberal contracts because they are not only likely to misfire; they also express condescending (...)
  25. The Communicational Autonomy of the Human Self in Intercorporeal and Intertextual Relationships From the Perspective of Semio- and Technoethics.Elżbieta Magdalena Wąsik - 2015 - Semiotics:81-88.
  26. La Biología Sintética Como Desafío Para Comprender la Autonomía de Lo Vivo.Sara Murillo-Sánchez & Kepa Ruiz-Mirazo - 2016 - Isegoría 55:551.
  27. Our Bodies, Whose Property?Laura Brace - 2016 - Contemporary Political Theory 15 (2):e8-e10.
  28. Household Decision Making Of Women In Public Service In Nigeria.Hauwa Daniyan-Bagudu, Mohd Khan Shazida Jan & Roslan Abdul-Hakim - unknown
    This study examines the impact of women decision making in the household especially among the public servants in Nigeria. The study used a sample of 350 public servant women, and applied a Logistic regression model. The result shows that women decision making on family health care is positive and significant, while household repairs and constructions are negative and significantly related to household status. The study therefore recommends a sensitization program to educate men on the importance or role of women in (...)
  29. Neutrality, Autonomy, and Power.Eldar Sarajlić - 2017 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 20 (1):23-35.
    This paper critically examines Alan Patten’s theory of neutrality of treatment. It argues that the theory assumes an inadequate conception of personal autonomy that undermines its plausibility. Because of this assumption the theory is unable to account for various configurations of power that work against personal autonomy. However, I suggest that the theory can resolve the problem by developing and reinterpreting its conception of autonomy and introducing an additional strategy for addressing the power misbalances that result from the market-based interactions (...)
  30. The Responsibility of the Oppressed to Resist Their Own Oppression.Bernard R. Boxill - 2010 - Journal of Social Philosophy 41 (1):1-12.
  31. Political Perfectionism and the Moral Acceptability of Pure Paternalism.Adam D. Bailey - 2017 - American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 91 (1):95-112.
    In this essay, I argue against an important position in contemporary perfectionist political philosophy, which holds both that the state is instrumental in nature and that there are principled, rather than merely prudential, limits on the scope of state authority such that pure paternalism is not morally acceptable. By so doing, I provide a conditional defense of the moral acceptability of pure paternalism.
  32. SHRYOCK, RICHARD H. The Development of Modern Medicine. [REVIEW]Haven Emerson - 1937 - Journal of Social Philosophy and Jurisprudence 3:280.
  33. Personal Autonomy and the Law: Sexual Harassment and the Dilemma of Regulating “Intimacy”.Jean L. Cohen - 1999 - Constellations 6 (4):443-472.
  34. Objectivity, Autonomy, and the Use of Arguments From Authority.Fields John - unknown
    Objectivity, Autonomy, and the use of Arguments from Authority Starting in the early modern era, the use of arguments from authority to support important factual claims began to be heavily criticized. Recent investigations into the nature of testimony, however, suggest that such criticisms are factually and normatively problematic. In this paper, the author argues for a model of testimonial authority that corrects this earlier, unrealistically individualistic picture of how person bear their burdens in the search for a common reality.
  35. Commentary On: John Fields’s “Objectivity, Autonomy, and the Use of Arguments From Authority”.Maurice A. Finocchiaro - unknown
  36. Domestic Violence as a Violation of Autonomy and Agency: The Required Response of the Kantian State.Marilea Bramer - 2011 - Social Philosophy Today 27:97-110.
    Contrary to what we might initially think, domestic violence is not simply a violation of respect. This characterization of domestic violence misses two key points. First, the issue of respect in connection with domestic violence is not as straightforward as it appears. Second, domestic violence is also a violation of care. These key points explain how domestic violence negatively affects a victim’s autonomy and agency—the ability to choose and pursue her own goals and life plan.We have a moral responsibility to (...)
  37. Conscience and Ethical Life: Some Remarks on "Hegel's Conscience," by Dean Moyar.Martin J. De Nys - 2011 - The Owl of Minerva 43 (1/2):139-147.
    The ethical theory discoverable in Hegel’s writings assigns, on Dean Moyar’s reading, an important role to the idea of conscience. Hegel’s discussion of conscience presents a theory of practical reasoning which requires that one be able to nest the particular purposes that motivate one’s actions in the objective purposes that have normative status insofar as they prevail in the institutions of modern ethical life. Those norms are legitimized by the fact that the institutions in question, most especially the state, predicate (...)
  38. Political Perfectionism and the Moral Acceptability of Pure Paternalism in Advance.Adam D. Bailey - forthcoming - American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly.
  39. Work and the Challenge of Autonomy.M. Lallement - 2015 - Social Science Information 54 (2):229-248.
  40. Occupational Grading and Occupational Prestige.J. H. Goldthorpe & K. Hope - 1972 - Social Science Information 11 (5):17-73.
  41. Community Autonomy in the National System : Federalism, Localism and Decentralization.T. N. Clark - 1973 - Social Science Information 12 (4):101-128.
  42. Ostracism on Trial: The Limits of Individual Rights.M. Gruter - 1985 - Social Science Information 24 (1):101-111.
  43. Representations, Communities and Health: An Introduction.N. Morant - 1998 - Social Science Information 37 (4):633-637.
  44. Hegel's Social and Political Philosophy: Recent Debates.Nance Michael - 2016 - Philosophy Compass 11 (12):804-817.
    This article discusses three topics that have been the subject of debate in recent scholarship on Hegel's social and political philosophy: first, the relevance of Hegel's systematic metaphysics for interpreting Hegel's social and political writings; second, the relation between recognition, social institutions, and rational agency; and third, the connection between the constellation of institutions and norms that Hegel calls “ethical life” and Hegel's theory of freedom. This article provides a critical overview of the positions in these three debates. In the (...)
  45. Homebirth, Midwives, and the State: A Libertarian Look.Kimberly A. Johnson - 2016 - Libertarian Papers 8:247-266.
    This study steps beyond the traditional arguments of feminism and examines homebirth from a libertarian perspective. It addresses the debate over homebirth and midwifery, which includes the use of direct-entry midwives as well as the philosophical implications of individual autonomy expressed through consumer choice. Furthermore, this paper demonstrates that the medical establishment gains economic and political control primarily through medical licensing, and uses the state to undermine personal freedom as it advances a government-enforced monopoly on birth. At the same time, (...)
  46. The Communal Basis for Moral Dignity: An African Perspective.Polycarp A. Ikuenobe - 2016 - Philosophical Papers 45 (3):437-469.
    I examine the standard view of dignity in Western literature and Metz’s African community view of dignity as a capacity for communal harmonious living. I argue that moral dignity is not just having a capacity for harmonious communal living, but the moral use of such capacity for the promotion of love, friendship, positive identity and active solidarity, which involves normatively prescriptive and evaluative elements. Thus, a plausible African communal conception of moral dignity, which is founded on a moral conception of (...)
  47. Biblically Inspired Tattoos in Forensic Examinations Made on Inmates’ Bodies in Prisons Territorially Assigned to the Forensic Institute of Medicine From Cluj.Dan Perju-Dumbravă, Daniel Ureche, Cristian Gherman, Ovidiu Chiroban, Laurian Ștefan Bonea & Carmen Corina Radu - 2016 - Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies 15 (45):338-356.
    Since ancient times, tattoos were a form of expressing spiritual trends or a life style. Our country does not have a very complex culture regarding tattoos or persons who practice this kind of art and thus for their bearers the majority of existing tattoos lack a special meaning. In forensic science, by conducting physical, traumatic expertise or by postponing the punishment, we find, a lot of times, persons in detention for different criminal acts, and the examination of these is necessary. (...)
  48. Autonomy, Sexuality, and Intellectual Disability.Andria Bianchi - 2016 - Social Philosophy Today 32:107-121.
    Respect for autonomy grounds common ethical judgments about why people should be allowed to make decisions for themselves. Under this assumption, it is concerning that a number of feminist conceptions of autonomy present challenges for people with intellectual disabilities. This paper explores some of the most philosophically influential feminist accounts of autonomy and demonstrates how these accounts exclude persons with intellectual disabilities. As a possible solution to these accounts, Laura Davy’s inclusive design approach is presented, which is a revised conception (...)
  49. The Convention for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Article 12: Prospective Feminist Lessons Against the “Will and Preferences” Paradigm.Camillia Kong - unknown
    Human rights have recently impacted on current conceptualisations of the rights and obligations owed to individuals with impairments, culminating in the UN Convention for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Particularly significant is Article 12, where interpretations have heralded a “will and preferences” paradigm which rejects substituted decision-making mechanisms, even in situations where an individual should make personally harmful or unwise decisions about their treatment, care, or relationships. This paper explores problems with “strict” and “flexible” interpretations of Article 12, focusing (...)
  50. Party Autonomy and its Limitations in the Rome II Regulation.Andrea Bonomi & Paul Volken - 2009 - In Andrea Bonomi & Paul Volken (eds.), Yearbook of Private International Law: Volume Ix. Sellier de Gruyter.
1 — 50 / 6247