Volume 1, 2007
Laura E. Weed
Clement and Sen
Social Dimensions in the Development of Autonomy
In this paper I will present the accounts of two influential contemporary moral philosophers, Grace Clement and Amartya Sen, to argue for the social context and inter-related nature of autonomy. In fact, there can be no autonomy for anyone without a loving and caring social environment that actively promotes independent thinking and capacity empowerment among people. This social dimension of autonomy has often been ignored by traditional theorists, who have considered autonomy to be an individual accomplishment that is a function of an individual's will power, intellectual ability, or self-discipline and virtue.