Bodily Relational Autonomy

Journal of Consciousness Studies 21 (9-10):100-120 (2014)
Abstract
Conceptions of autonomy in western philosophy and ethics have often centred on self-governance and self-determination. However, a growing bulk of literature also questions such conceptions, including the understanding of the autonomous self as a self-governing independent individual that chooses, acts, and lives in accordance with her or his own values, norms, or sense of self. This article contributes to the critical interrogation of selfhood, autonomy, and autonomous decision making by combining a feminist focus on relational dimensions of selfhood and autonomy with phenomenological philosophy of the embodied self as being-in-the-world. It offers a philosophical investigation of different dimensions of bodily relational autonomy by turning to phenomenological accounts of the lived body as self-reflexive. When so doing, we hope to contribute to bridging the gap that sometimes exists between discussions of autonomy in analytic moral philosophy and of freedom and facticity in phenomenological philosophy. We see this gap as unfortunate, and hold that a nuanced understanding of autonomy and autonomous decision making can be reached if these strands of philosophy are brought into dialogue
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