References and Further Reading 1. Although his family was of comfortable means, his youth was twice marked by tragedy. In two successive years, his two younger brothers contracted an infectious disease from him—diphtheria in one case and pneumonia in the other—and died.
The History of Autonomy a. Before Kant The roots of autonomy as self-determination can be found in ancient Greek philosophy, in the idea of self-mastery. A just soul, for Plato, is one in which this rational human part governs over the two others. Plato and Aristotle also both associate the ideal for humanity with self-sufficiency and a lack of dependency on others.
For Aristotle, self-sufficiency, or autarkeia, is an essential ingredient of happiness, and involves a lack of dependence upon external conditions for happiness. The best human will be one who is ruled by reason, and is not dependent upon others for his or her happiness.
This ideal continues through Stoic philosophy and can be seen in the early modern philosophy of Spinoza.
The concept of autonomy itself continued to develop in the modern period with the decrease of religious authority and the increase of political liberty and emphasis on individual reason. The former he called heteronomy; the latter autonomy. In acting we are guided by maxims, which are the subjective principles by which we might personally choose to abide.
Each moral agent, then, is to be seen as a lawgiver in a community where others are also lawgivers in their own right, and hence are to be respected as ends in themselves; Kant calls this community the kingdom of ends.
While the will is supposed to be autonomous, for Kant, it is also not supposed to be arbitrary or particularistic in its determinations. Feelings, emotions, habits, and other non-intellectual factors are excluded from autonomous decision-making.
Any circumstances that particularize us are also excluded from autonomous decision-making. All empirical aspects of our selfhood — all aspects of our experience — are part of the phenomenal self, and subject to the deterministic laws of natural causality.
Our freedom, on the other hand, cannot be perceived or understood; rather we must posit the freedom of the will as the basis for our ability to act morally. Further, the majority of contemporary theories of personal autonomy are content-neutral accounts of autonomy which are unconcerned with whether or not a person is acting according to moral laws; they focus more on determining whether or not a person is acting for his or her own reasons than on putting any restrictions on autonomous action.
The Romantic conception of individuality was then echoed within the conception of authenticity that runs through phenomenological and existential philosophy.
This conception of authenticity became intertwined with the idea of autonomy: This division is still present in the contrast between conceiving of autonomy as a key feature of moral motivation, and autonomy as self-expression and development of individual practical identity.
He argues for the value of heteronomy over autonomy. The self is hence not self-legislating, but is determined by the call of the other. This criticism of the basic structure of autonomy has been taken up within continental ethics, which attempts to determine how or whether a practical, normative ethics could be developed within this framework see for example Critchley For Maslow and Rogers, the most developed person is the most autonomous, and autonomy is explicitly associated with not being dependent on others.
More recently Lawrence Kohlberg developed an account of moral psychological development, in which more developed agents display a greater amount of moral autonomy and independence in their judgments.
Gilligan does not entirely repudiate autonomy itself as a value, but she also does not suggest how it can be distinguished from the ideals of independence and separation from others.
For the most part, it adopts a content-neutral approach that rejects any particular developmental criteria for autonomous action, and is more concerned with articulating the structure by which particular actions can be deemed autonomous or, conversely, the structure by which an agent can be deemed autonomous with respect to particular actions.
Personal Autonomy The contemporary discussion of personal autonomy can primarily be distinguished from Kantian moral autonomy through its commitment to metaphysical neutrality. Related to this is the adherence to at least a procedural individualism: The main distinction within personal autonomy is that between content-neutral accounts, which do not specify any particular values or principles that must be endorsed by the autonomous agent, and substantive accounts which specify some particular value or values that must be included within autonomous decision-making.
Content-Neutral or Procedural Accounts Content-neutral accounts, also called procedural, are those which deem a particular action autonomous if it has been endorsed by a process of critical reflection. These represent the majority of accounts of personal autonomy.
They are neutral with respect to what an agent might conceive of as good or might be trying to achieve. Hierarchical Procedural Accounts The beginning of the contemporary discussion of personal autonomy is in the s works of Harry Frankfurt and Gerald Dworkin. Their concern was to give an account of what kind of individual freedom ought to be protected, and how that moral freedom may be described in the context of contemporary conceptions of free will.
Their insight was that our decisions are worth protecting if they are somehow rooted in our values and overall commitments and objectives, and that they are not worth protecting if they run counter to those values, commitments, and objectives.Other Internet Resources Current Issues in Distributive Justice.
Center For Economic And Social Justice This site promotes a new paradigm of economics and development, the “just third way”. Provides links to numerous organisations, reports, articles and statistical data which support its paradigm.
Foe is a literary piece created by J. M. Coetzee in , based on a refurbishing of the novel Robinson Crusoe – which was a classic by Daniel Defoe, added with a . Virtue, by definition, is the moral excellence of a person a morally excellent person has a character made-up of virtues valued as good he or she is honest, respectful, courageous, forgiving, and kind, for example.
Susan: A Morally Developing Character Essay Sample. The Last Silk Dress by Ann Rinaldi takes place during the Civil War in the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia. Trifles Questions and Answers. The Question and Answer section for Trifles is a great resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
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