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

John Stuart Mill on Autonomy - Dictionary of Arguments

Gaus I 104
Autonomy/Mill/Gaus: Robert Young(1): An autonomous person employs her critical faculties to evaluate and choose her aims and projects in such a way that they are truly hers, rather than simply imposed by, or unreflectively taken over from, others.
Gaus: This conception of autonomy is thus a much more open-ended, and so less controversial, ideal than the ideals of either self-realization or project pursuit. Autonomy does not tell us what to choose; it only insists on the value of a chosen life.
Problem: the worry, though, is that nobody really creates himself. Our personalities and choices are deeply influenced by our natural talents and propensities, our culture and our upbringing. What options we consider attractive are strongly affected by our upbringing and culture.
Mill: As John Stuart Mill pointed out, it is ‘mere accident’ that decides the traditions into which one is inducted: ‘the same causes which make him a Churchman in London, would have made him a Buddhist or a Confucian [or, we might add, a Maoist] in Pekin’ (1963a(2): ch. 2, para. 4). >Autonomy/Benn.

1. Young, Robert (1986) Personal Autonomy: Beyond Negative and Positive Freedom. London: Croom-Helm.
2. Mill, John Stuart (1963a) On Liberty. In J. M. Robson, ed., The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, vol. XVIII, 213–301.

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.

Mill I
John St. Mill
A System of Logic, Ratiocinative and Inductive, London 1843
German Edition:
Von Namen, aus: A System of Logic, London 1843
Eigennamen, Ursula Wolf, Frankfurt/M. 1993

Mill II
J. St. Mill
Utilitarianism: 1st (First) Edition Oxford 1998

Gaus I
Gerald F. Gaus
Chandran Kukathas
Handbook of Political Theory London 2004

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