Course details


The Autonomy of Persons

WS 2019 Priv.Doz. Dr. phil. Uwe Meyer
B.Sc modules:
CS-BWP-PHIL - Philosophy for Cognitive Science
KOGW-WPM-PHIL - Philosophy of Mind and Cognition
Fri: 10-12

The term “autonomy of persons” refers to the capacity to determine one’s own will and to act accordingly. Many people value their personal autonomy as an expression or constitutive part of their individuality, especially in Western societies: They want to make up their own decisions and take each other responsible for it. It is quite clear that this concept of autonomy is immediately linked to the notion of free will, but the focus in the debate about autonomy is a bit different from that about the free will. Whereas in the free will debate, it is often mainly the principle of alternative possibilities which is at stake, the focus in the autonomy debate is a bit more on questions typical for applied philosophy: How must the will be structured in order to possess autonomy (H. Frankfurt)? What is the relation between personal autonomy and (perhaps oppressive) socialization and education (P. Benson)? In how far is political suppression an obstacle to personal autonomy (M. Oshana)? What is the relation between autonomy and morality? Is morality perhaps a condition for autonomy (I. Kant)? And what about decisions which in a way may change your personality (L. Paul)? In the seminar, we will discuss these topics on the basis of papers and book chapters.