Chapter

Freedom as Constraint: The Morality of Autonomy

Katerina Deligiorgi

in The Scope of Autonomy

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199646159
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741142 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199646159.003.0004
Freedom as Constraint: The Morality of Autonomy

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Chapter 4 draws some of the broader consequences of the anti-naturalist assumptions of the theory of autonomy defended here, by looking both at alternative readings of Kant and at broader questions addressed in contemporary moral philosophy about the precise force of practical reasons in our lives. First, focusing on Guyer’s and Korsgaard’s arguments, it is shown that naturalism provides the framework for influential contemporary interpretations of Kantian autonomy but that its support is dispensable. Following this, the chapter addresses the external reasons and categoricity debates and examines their application to Kantian autonomy. The aim is to show that it is possible to develop an account that is externalist and so anti-Humean about practical reasons but not necessarily anti-Humean about motivation. Having established this, attention turns to the ethical substance of autonomy, its intersubjective normative content. This discussion links up with the first chapter and addresses the universalizability formula of right and apriority in ethics. Consistent with the argument of the previous chapter that focuses on ‘right’ rather than the derivation of specific duties, it is argued that universalizability has moral content and the different ways it can guide our moral thinking are shown.

Keywords: internalism and externalism about practical reasons; motivational set; categorical and hypothetical imperatives; apriority; universalizability; moral imagination; Prichard; Guyer; Korsgaard; Bernard Williams; Foot

Chapter.  16660 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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