Psychology Dictionary of Arguments

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Autonomy: Autonomy refers to the ability of individuals, organizations, or entities to self-govern, make independent decisions, and act based on their own principles or rules without external control or influence. See also Individuals, Organizations, Institutions, Nations, Politics.
Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Concept Summary/Quotes Sources

Joseph Raz on Autonomy - Dictionary of Arguments

Gaus I 103
Autonomy/Raz/Gaus: According to Joseph Raz, whereas Mill’s ideal of ‘[s]elf-realization consists in the development to their fullest extent of all, or all the valuable capacities a person possesses … [t]he autonomous person is one who makes his own life and he may choose the path of self-realization or reject it’ (1986(1): 325). The basic thought is that, according to the ideal of autonomy, it is not crucial that a person decides to develop her capacities, but that she decides whether to develop her capacities and, more generally, how to live her life.
Varieties of autonomy: The ideal of personal autonomy fractures into a variety of more specific doctrines (Lindley, 1986(2)). Personal autonomy has been understood in terms of project pursuit, self-rule, self-creation and critical reflection on one’s projects and values, or consistency between first- and second-order volitions (on this last, see Gill, 2001(3): 20ff ).
Steven Wall: According to Steven Wall, for example, ‘autonomous people need
(a) the capacity to choose projects and sustain commitments,
(b) the independence necessary to chart their own course though life and to develop their own understanding of what is valuable and worth doing,
(c) the self-consciousness and vigor to take control of their affairs’ (1998(4): 132; see also Raz, 1986(1)).
>Autonomy/Gerald Dworkin
, >Autonomy/Robert Young.
Gaus I 104
Autonomy/liberalism/Gaus: The theory of personal autonomy, interpreted widely to include Millian self-development,( >Individual/Mill, >Autonomy/Mill, >Perfectionism/Gaus) is not simply a view of the good life that has been held by liberals, or even a view of the good life that justifies liberal political institutions. It is a distinctively liberal conception of the good life: the good life is a freely chosen life, and so the good life is a free life.
Raz: It is, as Raz (1986)(1) says, a morality of freedom; it puts a certain conception of a free life at the centre of morality.
Gaus: This is not to say that the autonomist project succeeds; (...) freedom qua autonomy seems to teeter on the verge of justifying elitism and paternalism, and so invites the sort of critique famously advanced by Berlin in ‘Two concepts of liberty’.

1. Raz, Joseph (1986) The Morality of Freedom. Oxford: Clarendon.
2. Lindley, Richard (1986) Autonomy. London: Macmillan.
3. Gill, Emily R. (2001) Becoming Free: Autonomy and Diversity in the Liberal State. Lawrence, KS: University of Kansas Press.
4. Young, Robert (1986) Personal Autonomy: Beyond Negative and Positive Freedom. London: Croom-Helm.

Gaus, Gerald F. 2004. „The Diversity of Comprehensive Liberalisms.“ In: Gaus, Gerald F. & Kukathas, Chandran 2004. Handbook of Political Theory. SAGE Publications.

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Raz, Joseph
Gaus I
Gerald F. Gaus
Chandran Kukathas
Handbook of Political Theory London 2004

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