The Scope of Autonomy: Kant and the Morality of Freedom
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Katerina Deligiorgi offers a contemporary defense of autonomy that is Kantian in orientation but which engages closely with recent arguments about agency, morality, and practical reasoning. Autonomy is a key concept in contemporary moral philosophy with deep roots in the history of the subject. However, there is still no agreed view about the correct way to formulate an account of autonomy that adequately captures both our capacity for self-determination and our responsiveness to reasons.
The theory defended in The Scope of Autonomy is distinctive in two respects. First, whereas autonomy has primarily been understood in terms of our relation to ourselves, Deligiorgi shows that it also centrally involves our relation to others. Identifying the intersubjective dimension of autonomy is crucial for the defence of autonomy as a morality of freedom. Second, autonomy must be treated as a composite concept and hence not capturable in simple definitions such as acting on one's higher order desires or on principles one endorses. One of the virtues of the composite picture is that it shows autonomy lying at the intersection of concerns with morality, practical rationality, and freedom. Autonomy pertains to all these areas, though it does not exactly coincide with any of them. Proving this, and so tracing the scope of autonomy, is therefore essential: Deligiorgi shows that autonomy is theoretically plausible, psychologically realistic, and morally attractive.
imposition of constraints on her ends non-autonomously, given that ex hypothesi she simply does not share the substantive ideal from which these normative constraints ﬂow. The theory I have been defending here shares with substantive accounts the imposition of normative constraints on the agent’s ends. In addition, the normative justiﬁcation for such imposition is explicitly moral: universalizability articulates a speciﬁc conception of ‘morally right’. However, the model is also ‘proceduralist’,
difﬁculties with autonomy 4.2 Practical identity, practical context, and the moral point of view 4.3 Apriority, ‘the dear self’, and moral possibility xv 1 6 17 24 32 35 44 49 56 63 64 70 84 93 98 105 109 118 130 xiv CONTENTS 5. Knowing Hearts: Emotion, Value, and Judgement 5.1 Why emotions matter: Kantian austerity on trial 5.2 Three Schillerian moral emotions and some contemporary rejoinders 5.3 Autonomy and moral life: Kantian responses 142 145 150 162 6. The Scope of Autonomy:
of 35 The exempliﬁcation of this conception in experience is the synthetic step which Kant himself describes in terms of two worlds (G 4:451). I have avoided addressing this issue because I think it is of relevance primarily in the context of freedom, an issue I discuss in Ch. 6. With respect to our moral self-conception, which is clearly also at issue in the twoworld picture, we can perhaps see this as a metaphor about our relation to the law, that is our own but not made by us; another way of
putting this is in Augustinian terms: ‘tu autem eras interior intimo meo et superior summo meo’, Confessions 3.6.11. 36 Kant addresses the issue of moral community in different ways and through different concepts. I have limited the discussion here to mere conceivability of oneself as putative subject to a kingdom of ends, or a citizen of an ethical commonwealth. These unifying concepts have clearly different roles within Kant’s argument, but they also have something in common to express the
features of the human subject, which describe fundamental modes of interaction with one’s environment. What generates ‘play’ is a type of experience, aesthetic experience, which affects the deep psychological structure Schiller describes and creates a morally propitious disposition. So the aim is to develop an account that shows the moral appropriateness of a type of emotive response and explains how the response comes about. I think that the project fails but does so in interesting ways that are