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Social Theory and Practice

Volume 39, Issue 3, July 2013

Dwight Furrow, Mark Wheeler
Pages 477-500

Blunting the Blind Impress
Autonomy, Self-Reflection, and Tracking the Truth

Contrary to hierarchical/procedural (HP) models of autonomous action, according to which reflective self-appraisal is essential to autonomous action, we argue that autonomous action essentially involves the way agents take up and respond to the normative demands of objects of care. To be autonomous, an action must track the genuine needs of some object the agent cares about. Thus, autonomous action is essentially teleological, governed by both an agent’s concerns and the object of care. It is not dependent only on the will, understood as an internal efficient causal force, and is robustly relational in a constitutive sense.

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