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Autonomy as a Rational Ethical Subject Essay


Individual Autonomy implies the ability to be oneself, to live oneself life based on personal will and interests and not the creation of outside manipulative forces. Autonomy is normally viewed as a basic moral as well as a political value. The concept emphasizes on an individual’s capability to govern him/her, independent of his/her position in metaphysical form or his/her responsibility in the social point of view and political is more as a subject of humanism, on which the present-day moderate political philosophy is an outcome (Schneewind 482). The fact that moral standards and responsibilities in addition to legality of political power, should be grounded in the independent character, introduces skeptics from various quarters.

In simple terms, being autonomous means being one’s own person, as guided by self desires, concerns, situations, and characters that are not inflicted by the outside factors, but are a component of what is regarded as one’s authentic self. Individuals personae are a priori to the persons they become through the individual’s innate personality. This perspective of human beings; that individuals are persons based on the personae which are created for their ethomimetric praxis, was avoided by the typical anthropological custom whereby culture was different from human. It did not consider the fact that the purpose of culture was to provide the personae for the individuals to become persons (Schneewind 483).

Concept of Autonomous Rationable Substance

Autonomous rational substance is very significant in the theoretical descriptions of persons, formation of moral duties and responsibilities, and the validation of social policies and various political theory aspects; mainly about ethics or moral philosophy. Autonomy forms the base of the Kantian formation of the practical explanation and relates to elements of moral duty. It is also viewed as the aspects of individuals that control paternalistic inventions in an individual’s life (Christman Para 2). Autonomy is very significant in the theory of education and policy, on a number of issues stressing the major objective of liberal teachings. In addition, despite numerous feminists reservations based on the principle of autonomy, it is at times viewed as an important conceptual aspect in some feminist principles for instance the discovery and eradication of social factors that oppress the females and other susceptible individuals (Christman Para 3).

Ethics is a structure of moral principles. Autonomy is the key to certain ethical structures, both as a replica of the moral individual; the nature of an individual by virtue of which he/she is morally obliged. And as an attribute of persons which position other’s responsibilities to them. According to Kant, the individual imposition of the common moral rule is the basis of moral responsibility in general as well as the esteem individuals owe to others (Schneewind 3). In simple terms, it implies, the individuals’ ability to reason when choosing their own actions assuming that they understand their freedom (Schneewind 3). The self inflictition of the ethical law is what is referred to as autonomy. The law should not have content provided by desire or sense, it should be universal.

This means that by virtue of individuals being autonomous, they should act only on the saying that they can consistently have desires as universal laws. Autonomous means self worth, in that individuals must be able to have confidence in their decision making abilities and be responsible. Individuals owe to themselves the ethical principles; self respect based on their autonomy. Thus they are obliged to act in accordance to the fundamental respect for other individuals as a result of their autonomy. This therefore implies that autonomy serves as a model of practical basis in the establishment of moral responsibility and as an attribute of other individuals that deserve moral respects (Christman Para 5).

The traditional evaluations of autonomous based moral views, have been defined differently in relation to aspects of autonomy in social as well as political theory. The first issue is about how autonomous based moral theory grounds responsibilities in individual’s cognitive capabilities other than their emotions and sentimental relations. Kantian’s morality view does not include the emotional responses that constitute a moral feedback in a number of conditions. For example, parents’ responsibilities concerns what they do as well as the zeal and concern they express in doing (Christman Para 6). Viewing obligation from the autonomous point of view and analyzing autonomy from a merely cognitive point of view makes such a situation susceptible to this kind of issue. The main challenge resulting from this reproach comes from the vagueness of the self analysis that is used in valuing individuals’ kindness; individual’s capacity to oblige themselves. This is because individuals can analyze the decisions they make and value it, regarding it as “self” engaging the ability in numerous ways.

Individuals passions are also involved in the decision making processes, these include desires, felt dedications, the sense of desirability and distaste and comfort. All these are aspects of individual judgements; embracing an opinion fervently differs from the determination of being the best. Judgement involves all these passions when decisions are being made. It should be understood as a capability of engaging in actions whose passionate as well as reasoned support are mustered up. When an individual’s optimal decision is impassioned, one should value his/her ability to take on the right zeals, and not just in the ability to callously reflect and make a choice. When making decisions, individuals should value the ability to evaluate options and universalize them as well as the capacity to engage the precise influence and emotions. Thus one should value himself/herself as passionate reasoners and not just mere reasoners (Christman Para 7).

The implication of the observation is that when individuals generalize their judgments, they need not to entrust themselves to valuing the cognitive capabilities of humanity only, but also the respective personal elements. This explains about the element of autonomy; for the issue of whether moral responsibility consists of emotional elements is dependent on the onset of autonomy at work and if the emotional elements are inclusive of the types of reflective judgements that structure its core (Christman Para 9).

The kind of reflection needed by autonomy on a number of models is merely imaginary, assuming that numerous authentic choices are made without mindful and unambiguous consideration of them. If substantive dedications or value orientations are not included in the theoretical evaluation of autonomy, then it is not clear how this ability grounds any specific substantive value dedications. Conversely, if autonomy constitutes a specification of a unique value in its form; For instance, the autonomous individuals should value their own liberty (Christman Para 10).

A person is the performer of an ethos, other than a person’s own self. The idea that governs personality is not the one ought to perform one’s own self, but another. It is usually an individual’s self performing the ethos; the autonomous self performing without the external influences. In order to become an individual of cultural persona, one should learn to become ethonomous. It is usually the ethonoumous alteration of the autonomous self into a persona of its own making that results to a person out of an individual human substance endowed with the personability.

The irony is that individuals become persons of the personae created by themselves. This ability encompasses the aspects of moral obligation. It implies that individuals can transform their nature as they desire. It is evaluated that a personal autonomy has inherent self-governing value. Autonomy is claimed to be an element of well being. Viewing autonomy as an inherent value, or a constitutive aspect of an individual well being enable one to take on a general consequential moral structure while considering the significance of independence to a satisfying life (Christman Para 22).

Autonomy is usually regarded as the ability to treat all persons equally from an ethical perspective. However if it is not adamant feature, then the dedication to moral equality becomes challenging. It is argued that, inasmuch as the capabilities needed for autonomy for instance rational reflects, and aptitude in making decisions vary from one individual to the other, then it is hard to ensure that all the autonomous individuals have the same moral status or that the individuals’ interests deserve equal weight in terms of the opinions that affect them.a persons’ normative dedications does not result from individuals’ abilities to reflect and choose, but instead establishes the ways in which individuals view themselves as being capable.

People consider their own present more than the past opinions in order to continue with the projects and plans that they make since they made them (Christman Para 23). The effect that the individuals’ own opinions have on their continuing desire and acts can only be elaborated by the assumption that individuals confer status and value of the opinions for the reason that they reflectlectively made them. This is all or nothing ability and therefore may be sufficient to justify the individual’s status as even, if in life the ability is expressed to varying levels (Christman Para 28).

The perception of an autonomous person contributes numerously to the establishment of liberal political theory. It particularly serves as a model of an individual whose perception is used to devise and justify the political values, as in the social contract models of the values of justice (Rawls 223). It also serves as a representation of a citizen whose major goals are reflected in the values, for instance in the state that liberation, opportunities as well as other key goods are essential to prosperous lives despite the moral dedications, life goals, among other particulars that can be obtained by an individual.

Autonomy is attributed to individuals in order to demarcate and review the domineering social status. Liberalism generally refers to the approach to political authority as well as social fairness that verifies the principles of rights prior to, and mainly independent of, determination of the outset of the good. This means that the liberal perception of fairness as well as the legitimation of political authority can mainly be specified and verified without referring to the contentious perception of moral values (Christman Para 30).

Arguments about autonomy that relates directly to disagreement over liberty and equity concerns neutrality. Neutrality is said to contribute to the verification and application of the values of fairness. It is a contentious standard, and the particular sense in which liberal theory is dedicated to an aspect of neutrality is complicated. A major concern is whether the perception of autonomy applied in liberal theories should attempt to be neutral in terms of the different perceptions of ethics and principles or whether the dependence on autonomy in the verification and analysis of liberal theories of fairness render them biased because of the reliance (Christman Para 31).

A number of theories regard autonomy as requiring negligible rationality in addition to authenticity, where the latter situation is evaluated in terms of the ability to reflectively support the individual’s character. This view is can be referred to as proceduralist, since it stipulates that the process through which an individual identifies a desire of her/his own is what should be significant in the establishment of its authenticity and consequently autonomy. This perception of autonomy is implemented based on its defenders since this is the only way of making sure that autonomy is neutral towards all the perception of values that responsible individuals may internalize (Christman Para 32).

Autonomy as it has been described, it concerns mainly one self; not an aspect of groups of people. The autonomy that governs basic rights and which relates to moral obligation, is assigned to an individual without significant reference to other persons, institutions and customs in which they may live. However, critics maintain that such a perception contradicts the manner in which most individuals view themselves, and therefore challenges the identity aspects that inspire action, grounds moral obligations, and devises life goals.

Autonomy refers to the capacity to reflect entirely on oneself, to acknowledge or decline one’s values, and self defining aspects, and alter such aspects of one’s life as one desires. However not all individuals are deeply enmeshed in social relations and cultural patterns, they are defined by such relations (Sandel 32). For instance, verbal communication is used to engage in reflection, it is a social factor and relates to numerous cultural aspects. Generally individuals are constituted by features that lie beyond their reflective control but establish individual values, ideas and inspirations (Christman Para 33).

This paper generally emphasizes on individuals being independent and self governing. Liberalism emphasizes on the value of oneself autonomy, though this reliance either presumes that respect for autonomy is just a single value of all the others in the liberal perspective, or autonomy has complete and a dominant value. In such cases neutrality is assumed. If autonomy is only a single value of all other individual aspects, then at times the overall endorsement of all those other ethical values is likely to dominate the dependence on autonomy. For instance paternalistic constraint employed to ensure individual security. Autonomy could also be viewed as a complete restraint on the embracement of ethical values; a constitutive state of the soundness of overall individual values.

The aspects of autonomy considered in this paper include factors that view the constraint in that an individual is autonomous in relation to some action guiding norm or value only if upon critical reflection of such value, he/she identifies with it, supports it or is not separated from it. Combining this perspective with the supportive constraints, then it means that autonomy is only respected when the guiding values or ethics in a society are embraced by those governed by them.


Autonomy generally refers to the capability of being oneself, and to live one’s life according to one’s will. The term Autonomy is used in various theoretical and ethical settings. Moral autonomy refers to the ability to inflict moral laws on an individual’s self. It is a vital organizing aspect of all mortality. Individual autonomy is meant as an attribute that persons can demonstrate in relation to any feature of their lives, not restricted to the issues of moral responsibility. Autonomy is generally about the self-government and authenticity of the individuals desires that inspires one to act. The notion of self governance is composed of two main elements; the independence on an individual’s self consideration and choice from exploitation by other people and the ability to guide oneself. However the capability to govern oneself always lies in the perception.

This is because a complete account of the capability usually entails the liberty from the external exploitation feature of independence. An individual should always be able to act entirely and from one’s desires to govern himself/herself. This way any one is able to become an individual of cultural persona; ethonomous person. To have the capability of reflecting wholly on an individual’s self. However autonomy is only respected when the guiding values or ethics in a society are embraced by those governed by them.

Work Cited

Christman, John. “Autonomy in moral and political philosophy.” Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy (2008).

Rawls, John. A theory of justice. Belknap Press, 1999.

Sandel, Michael J. Liberalism and the Limits of Justice. Cambridge University Press, 1998.

Schneewind, Jerome B. The Invention of Autonomy: A History of Modern Moral Philosophy. Cambridge [u.a.: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2005. Print.

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