Emotions, Reasons, and Autonomy

In Andrea Veltman & Mark C. Piper (eds.), Autonomy, Oppression and Gender. Oxford University Press. pp. 163-180 (2014)

Christine Tappolet
Université de Montréal
Personal autonomy is often taken to consist in self-government or self-determination. Personal autonomy thus seems to require self-control. However, there is reason to think that autonomy is compatible with the absence of self-control. Akratic action, i.e., action performed against the agent’s better judgement, can be free. And it is also plausible to think that free actions require autonomy. It is only when you determine what you do yourself that you act freely. It follows that akratic actions can be autonomous. At least in some cases, it is the agent herself, and not some alien part of her, who determines her akratic actions. But akratic actions are usually thought to be paradigm cases of self-control failure. Thus, we have reason both to conclude that autonomy requires self-control and that autonomy is compatible with the absence of self-control. My aim is to discuss the main solutions to this paradox.
Keywords Emotions  The Perceptual Theory of Emotions  Autonomy  Reason-responsiveness
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