Autonomy as rule by the self

Australasian Journal of Philosophy 92 (1):1-6 (2014)
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In the contemporary debate on the nature of autonomy, it is generally taken for granted that autonomy is to be understood as rule by the self, with the debate centring on how that self is to be identified. Garnett [2013b] has recently proposed a theory that rejects the dominant understanding of autonomy as rule by the self and views it instead as resistance to rule by others. According to that theory, an autonomous agent is one whose various ‘autonomy traits’ render her sufficiently resistant to subjection to foreign wills. I argue that Garnett has not given us good reason to abandon the understanding of autonomy as rule by the self. His account is plausible only if it is understood to require for autonomy the possession of at least one trait with which the agent can be identified. And the best explanation of the necessity of some such trait is offered, not by Garnett's, but by the dominant understanding of autonomy he rejects.



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Steven Weimer
Arkansas State University

References found in this work

Autonomy and preference formation.Richard Arneson - 1994 - In Joel Feinberg, Jules L. Coleman & Allen E. Buchanan (eds.), In Harm's Way: Essays in Honor of Joel Feinberg. Cambridge University Press. pp. 42--75.
Taking the Self out of Self-Rule.Michael Garnett - 2011 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (1):21-33.

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