Cultivating Autonomy: The Normative Core of Democracy

Stephen Elstub

in Towards a Deliberative and Associational Democracy

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print April 2008 | ISBN: 9780748627394
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652716 | DOI:
Cultivating Autonomy: The Normative Core of Democracy

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This chapter presents the case that the cultivation of the value of autonomy is the normative core of democracy. It suggests that as autonomy and democracy both aim to make their agents self-determining, the relationship between them is therefore implicit. The chapter argues that we should strive to reach ‘deliberative autonomy’ so that the outcomes of decisions are intended. For this to occur, free choice from a range of acceptable options based upon rationally formed preferences is required. In order to ensure that preferences are rationally formed, an adequate range of available information must be considered. The chapter concludes by highlighting how collective decisions are different to individual decisions, as the former affect others.

Keywords: autonomy; democracy; deliberative autonomy; free choice; collective decision

Chapter.  21827 words. 

Subjects: Politics

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