The Scope of Autonomy: Agency, Freedom, and Morality

Katerina Deligiorgi

in The Scope of Autonomy

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199646159
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741142 | DOI:
The Scope of Autonomy: Agency, Freedom, and Morality

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Chapter 6 starts by locating the theory of autonomy presented here in the contemporary discussion about personal autonomy using the issues raised by Schiller as a conceptual bridge. Whereas the theory avoids some of the familiar pitfalls, the question of the metaphysics of freedom, postponed from Chapter 3, returns here with considerable force. This is first addressed through an examination of the substantive model defended by Hegel, who, in common with some contemporary theorists, seeks to defend a socially embedded conception of agency. It is argued that what is gained in terms of substance is lost in terms of morality and also in terms of freedom. On the other hand, the Kantian conception of freedom relies on the obscure and controversial concept of a ‘causality of reason’. Drawing on earlier discussions from Chapters 3 and 5, it is shown how the concept can be understood as asserting agential control. The chapter concludes with a discussion of consistency in ethics that leads to the broader topic of the ‘scope’ of autonomy broached in earlier chapters, appreciation of which is essential if we are properly to recognize the importance of autonomy to our moral lives.

Keywords: personal autonomy; authenticity; integrity; independence; causality of reason; choice; causa sui; consistency in ethics; Frankfurt; Dworkin; Benson; Hill; Donagan; Hegel

Chapter.  17230 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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