Autonomy, value, and the first person

Hallvard Lillehammer

in Autonomy and Mental Disorder

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780199595426
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191754739 | DOI:

Series: International Perspectives in Philosophy & Psychiatry

Autonomy, value, and the first person

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I have shown how considerations of autonomy normally play different roles in ethical thought from a first-person as opposed to an other-person perspective on practical reasoning. I have also shown that considerations of autonomy can be usefully distinguished into some that focus on a person’s capacity for substantially self-governing agency and others that focus on an intellectually less demanding notion of voluntary choice or action. Finally, I have distinguished between three different ways of thinking about autonomy as a value, namely as a means to the promotion of desirable outcomes, as a desirable outcome in itself, and as a constraint on the promotion of desirable outcomes. I have argued that when these different aspects of claims about autonomy are kept distinct there is conceptual space for a view according to which we can reasonably consider ourselves to be under a duty to respect the autonomy of a person who does not have the capacities we normally associate with substantial, or genuine, self-governance.

Chapter.  8232 words. 

Subjects: Psychiatry

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