Taking the Measure of Autonomy : A Four-Dimensional Theory of Self-Governance book cover
1st Edition

Taking the Measure of Autonomy
A Four-Dimensional Theory of Self-Governance

ISBN 9780367594404
Published August 14, 2020 by Routledge
208 Pages

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Book Description

This book takes a radically different approach to the concept of autonomy. Killmister defends a theory of autonomy that is four-dimensional and constituted by what she calls ‘self-definition,’ ‘self-realisation,’ ‘self-unification,’ and 'self-constitution.' While sufficiently complex to inform a full range of social applications, this four-dimensional theory is nonetheless unified through the simple idea that autonomy can be understood in terms of self-governance. The ‘self’ of self-governance occupies two distinct roles: the role of ‘personal identity’ and the role of ‘practical agency.’ In each of these roles, the self is responsible for both taking on, and then honouring, a wide range of commitments. One of the key benefits of this theory is that it provides a much richer measure not just of how autonomous an agent is, but also the shape—or degree—of her autonomy. Taking the Measure of Autonomy will be of keen interest to professional philosophers and students across social philosophy, political philosophy, ethics, and action theory who are working on autonomy.

Table of Contents

Part I: Theory

1. Introduction

2. Self-Definition

3. Self-Realisation

4. Self-Unification

5. Self-Constitution

Part II. Application

6. The Autonomy of Agents

7. Paternalism, Consent, and Moral Responsibility

8. Autonomy Under Oppression

9. Aids to Autonomy

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Suzy Killmister is Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at Monash University, Australia


"This ambitious book cuts against the grain. Killmister lays out a framework for thinking about autonomy that eschews the received view in many quarters . . . Her view centers on the idea that there are several dimensions to autonomy, and while they are related, one may fall short in one but not the others. The result is a nuanced theory of autonomy that illuminates how the concept applies in a range of domains and to a range of agents." Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

"Taking the Measure of Autonomy offers an original and nuanced account of autonomy as a phenomenon unified along four dimensions of the self: self-definition, self-realization, self-unification, and self-constitution. Killmister employs the four-dimensional account to cast fresh light on our understanding of intentional action, implicit bias, adaptive preferences, paternalism, and social oppression. The book promises to be of interest to readers both for its theoretical care and for its treatment of the practical applications of self-government." Marina Oshana, University of California, Davis, USA