Self-ownership, freedom, and autonomy

Journal of Ethics 2 (1):27-55 (1998)
The libertarian view of freedom has attracted considerable attention in the past three decades. It has also been subjected to numerous criticisms regarding its nature and effects on society. G. A. Cohen''s recent book, Self-Ownership, Freedom and Equality, continues this attack by linking libertarian views on freedom to their view of self-ownership. This paper formulates and evaluates Cohen''s major arguments against libertarian freedom and self-ownership. It contends that his arguments against the libertarian rights definition of freedom are inadequate and need modification. Similarly, Cohen''s defense of restrictions on self-ownership on behalf of autonomy are also found wanting. Finally, I argue that the thesis of self-ownership (whether in its full or partial version) ought to be rejected.
Keywords autonomy  Cohen  freedom  libertarianism  Nozick  self-ownership
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DOI 10.1023/A:1009786331882
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