Autonomy and Self-Determination

Bernard Berofsky

in Nature's Challenge to Free Will

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199640010
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738197 | DOI:
 						Autonomy and Self-Determination

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This chapter addresses the incompatibilist worry about DR-autonomy in a deterministic world. It is argued that concerns based on the dependence of one’s perspectives on the past are nullified when the perspective can be objectively grounded. For those perspectives that do not admit of objective grounding, the contingencies, efforts to authenticate them via a self-creating self are deemed incoherent. One must accept that both the autonomy and the power of human beings are limited and autonomy itself is not necessarily desirable in all circumstances. Since even an ideally autonomous agent, with unlimited powers, would have to accept arbitrary starting points for the determination of value, the inability to engage in an infinite number of justifications is not a limitation on the autonomy of actual human beings. The tentative conclusion is that autonomy is possible in a deterministic world.

Keywords: DR-autonomy; incompatibilism; determinism; contingencies; authenticity

Chapter.  8440 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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