The Development of Autonomy

Meira Levinson

in The Demands of Liberal Education

Published in print January 2002 | ISBN: 9780199250448
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599750 | DOI:
 The Development of Autonomy

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Discusses the relationship between the exercise and development of autonomy and analyses their implications for liberalism and liberal education. Section 2.1 proves that since the liberal state values adults’ exercise of autonomy, it must also value children's development of autonomy. Section 2.2 argues that state paternalism towards children, in particular, state efforts to help children develop the capacity for autonomy even against their parents’ wishes, is consistent with liberal principles. Section 2.3 argues that parents have privileges rather than rights to control their children's upbringing, but that these privileges nonetheless offer ample scope for parents to exert independent paternalistic control. Finally, Section 2.4 argues that the liberal ideal of autonomy not merely permits but requires the intrusion of the state into the child's life, specifically in the form of compulsory, ‘detached’, autonomy‐driven schools.

Keywords: autonomy; children; liberal education; liberal state; parents; paternalism; rights; school

Chapter.  13228 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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