Grazer Philosophische Studien

Volume 12/13, 1981

Gerald Dworkin
Pages 203-213

The Concept of Autonomy

In both theoretical and applied contexts the concept of autonomy has assumed increasing importance in recent normative philosophical discussion. Given various problems to be clarified or resolved the author characterizes the concept by first setting out conditions of adequacy. The author then links the notion of autonomy to the identification and critical reflection of an agent upon his first-order motivations. It is only when a person identifies with the influences that motivate him, assimilates them to himself, that he is autonomous. In addition this process of identification must itself meet certain procedural constraints.