Autonomy and Ulysses arrangements

Lubomira Radoilska

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 and Ulysses arrangements

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In this chapter, I sketch the structure of a general concept of autonomy and then reply to possible objections with reference to Ulysses arrangements in psychiatry. In so doing, I commit to the claim that autonomy is best understood as a de facto contested concept rather than either an essentially contested one or an umbrella term covering a loose set of separate target concepts.

The argument proceeds as follows. At the start of the inquiry, I explore three main strategies to conceiving autonomy in the current debate: value-neutral, value-laden, and relational. The objective is to bring into relief their distinctive rationales and draw attention to ensuing points of disagreement. Next, I identify two paradigm cases of autonomy by considering everyday instances of pre-commitment, and then offer a first sketch of the concept of autonomy as opposed to the closely related freedom of action and intentional agency. Finally, I explain away the autonomy paradox to which the previously identified pair of paradigm cases seems to give rise in the context of mental disorder. By resolving this paradox, we learn two valuable lessons. The first is about the relationships between the three conceptions of autonomy just mentioned. The second is about the relationships between autonomy and mental disorder.

Chapter.  10601 words. 

Subjects: Psychiatry

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