Autonomie – eine Aufgabe für die Philosophie

Studia Philosophica 66:175-196 (2007)
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In science, technology and social science, various projects can be identifi ed that intend to naturalize autonomy – a central philosophical concept, in particular in ethics, philosophy of law and political philosophy. This contribution analyzes the impact of this «naturalization» of the autonomous agent on the philosophical understanding of autonomy. First, an overview of the discussion on personal autonomy within contemporary philosophy is given. In a second step, two different notions of autonomy – strong and weak autonomy – are introduced. This basic distinction is complemented with a general scheme of analysis that allows the build-up of a taxonomy of autonomy along four dimensions . Third, the possible impact of naturalizing autonomous agency on the philosophical concept of autonomy is exemplifi ed in the fi eld of neuroscience. Finally, limits of the naturalization project are identifi ed by introducing the concept of «Setzung» – an act performed by an autonomous agent such that the agent is able to perceive himor herself as being auto nomous. It is argued that this process of a «Setzung» cannot be fully understood by empirical means and thus marks the limits of the project of naturalizing autonomy



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