Autonomy (Ancient Greek: αὐτονομία autonomia from αὐτόνομος autonomos from αὐτο- auto- "self" + νόμος nomos, "law", hence when combined understood to mean "one who gives oneself one's own law") is a concept found in moral, political, and bioethical philosophy. Within these contexts, it is the capacity of a rational individual to make an informed, un-coerced decision. In moral and political philosophy, autonomy is often used as the basis for determining moral responsibility and accountability for one's actions.
- Alphabetized by author or source:
- ...and now of mere consumption, dragged along as an appendage of the process of material production, without autonomy or substance of its own...
- Theodor Adorno, quoted by Fabian Freyenhagen in Adorno's Practical Philosophy: Living Less Wrongly p. 63
- The failing of contemporary criticism is double: Hand in hand with the suppression of aesthetic autonomy, one finds also a growing reluctance to recognize the complex and dynamic temporality of literature.
- Periodization is the disciplinary strategy with which the present establishes its rule over all time and encourages conformism, to the detriment of autonomy, individual and aesthetic.
- Russell Berman in “Fiction Sets You Free: Literature, Liberty, and Western Culture” p. 20
- We face a conflict between civilisation and culture, which used to be on the same side. Civilisation means rational reflection, material well being, individual autonomy and ironic self-doubt; culture means a form of life that is customary, collective, passionate, spontaneous, unreflective and irrational.
- There cannot be any politics of resistance, aesthetics of emancipation, or prose and poetry of agential autonomy in history for people around the world—nothing except a Starbucks Coffee version of the so-called “Western classics” to go and save them.
- We face a conflict between civilisation and culture, which used to be on the same side. Civilisation means rational reflection, material wellbeing, individual autonomy and ironic self-doubt; culture means a form of life that is customary, collective, passionate, spontaneous, unreflective and irrational.
- A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within more than the lustre of the firmament of bards and sages. Yet he dismisses without notice his own thought, because it is his.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Self-Reliance,” Essays: First Series (1883), pp. 47-48
- It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion. It is easy in solitude to live after our own. But the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Self-Reliance,” Essays: First Series (1883), p. 55
- That popular fable of the sot who was picked up dead-drunk in the street, carried to the duke's house, washed and dressed and laid in the duke's bed, and, on his waking, treated with all obsequious ceremony like the duke, and assured that he had been insane, owes its popularity to the fact that it symbolizes so well the state of man, who is in the world a sort of sot, but now and then wakes up, exercises his reason and finds himself a true prince.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Self-Reliance,” Essays: First Series (1883), pp. 62-63
- Gilpin specializes in political economy and international relations, especially the effect of multinational corporations on state autonomy.
- Robert Gilpin, quoted by Michael J. Sandel in e-Study Guide for: The Globalization of World Politics: An Introduction to ... p. 171
- It is highly reprehensible, both in a moral sense and in its almost total contempt for the personal integrity and autonomy of the female victim and for the latter's privilege of choosing those with whom intimate relationships are to be established.
- The upper technologies of knowledge representation and acquisition, autonomy and sociality, support product innovation and provide the beginnings of foundations for knowledge science. Well's dream of a world brain making available all of human knowledge is well on its way to realization and it is in the representation, acquisition, and access and effective application of that knowledge that the commercial potential and socio-economic impact of convergence lies.
- The deepest problems of modern life derive from the claim of the individual to preserve the autonomy and individuality of his existence in the face of overwhelming social forces, of historical heritage, of external culture and of the technique of life.
- Theology became conscious of its autonomy qua supreme science, which philosophy was emptied of its spiritual exercises, which, from now on...
- The grimaces on these mocking distorted faces signalize disobedience, opposition and turmoil, as well as a kind of childlike autonomy in the depraved world of adults.
- The autonomous individual, striving to realize himself and prove his worth, has created all that is great in literature, art, music, science and technology. The autonomous individual, also, when he can neither realize himself nor justify his existence by his own efforts, is a breeding call of frustration, and the seed of the convulsions which shake our world to its foundations.
- Eric Hoffer, The Passionate State Of Mind, and Other Aphorisms (1955), Section 29
- In inexhaustible good nature is one of the most precious gifts of heave, spreading itself like oil over the trouble sea of thought, and keeping the mind smooth and equable in the roughest weather.
- Just as a man, as a social being, can not in the long run exist without a tie to the community, so the individual will never find the real justification for his existence and his own spiritual and moral autonomy, anywhere except in an extramundane principle capable of relativizing the overpowering influence of external factors.
- Carl Jung, quoted by Claire Dunne in Carl Jung: Wounded Healer of the Soul: An Illustrated Biography p. 199
- Morality is thus the relation of actions to the autonomy of the will, that is, to a possible giving of universal law through its maxims.
- Its ethic is liberty and its characteristic is autonomy — the freedom of the will from external constraint. It says "I shall...
- The individual would be free to exert autonomy over a life that would be his own. If the productive apparatus could be organized and directed toward satisfaction of the vital needs, its control might well be centralized, such control would not prevent individual autonomy, but render it possible.
- I've learned that in order to achieve what I wanted, it made more sense to negotiate than to defend the autonomy of my work by pounding my fist on the table.
- The mass has no autonomy from institutions; on the contrary, agents of authorized institutions penetrate this mass, reducing any autonomy it may have in the formation of opinion by discussion.
- C. Wright Mills, quoted by Renata Fox & John Fox in Organizational Discourse: A Language-ideology-power Perspective, p. 85
- There exists at present a living body, which is my body... I am one of those philosophers who have held that that ‘the Common Sense view of the world’ is in certain fundamental features, wholly true.
- George Edward Moore, in “A Defense of Common Sense” quoted in The Cambridge Companion to Thomas Reid p. 319
- Intellectually, the political realist maintains the autonomy of the political sphere, as the economist, the lawyer, the moralist maintain theirs.
- In his heart every man knows quite well that, being unique, he will be in the world only once and that no imaginable chance will for a second time gather together into a unity so strangely variegated an assortment as he is: he knows it but he hides it like a bad conscience—why? From fear of his neighbor, who demands conventionality and cloaks himself with it. But what is it that constrains the individual to fear his neighbor, to think and act like a member of a herd, and to have no joy in himself? Modesty, perhaps, in a few rare cases. With the great majority it is indolence, inertia. ... Men are even lazier than they are timid, and fear most of all the inconveniences with which unconditional honesty and nakedness would burden them. Artists alone hate this sluggish promenading in borrowed fashions and appropriated opinions and they reveal everyone’s secret bad conscience, the law that every man is a unique miracle.
- Friedrich Nietzsche, Untimely Meditations, “Schopenhauer as educator,” § 3.1, R. Hollingdale, trans. (1983), p. 127
- We are responsible to ourselves for our own existence; consequently we want to be the true helmsman of this existence and refuse to allow our existence to resemble a mindless act of chance.
- Friedrich Nietzsche, Untimely Meditations, “Schopenhauer as educator,” § 3.1, R. Hollingdale, trans. (1983), p. 128
- No one can construct for you the bridge upon which precisely you must cross the stream of life, no one but you yourself alone.
- Friedrich Nietzsche, Untimely Meditations, “Schopenhauer as educator,” § 3.1, R. Hollingdale, trans. (1983), p. 129
- There exists in the world a single path along which no one can go except you: whither does it lead? Do not ask, go along it.
- Friedrich Nietzsche, Untimely Meditations, “Schopenhauer as educator,” § 3.1, R. Hollingdale, trans. (1983), p. 129
- I neither want nor expect autonomy to lose its status in the centerpiece of bioethics. But that centerpiece of bioethics should be a whole bouquet of concepts, and not just the single flower of autonomy, however beguiling it may be.
- Carl Schneider, in Informed Consent : Legal Theory and Clinical Practice: Legal Theory and ... p. 32
- Autonomy has never been recognized as a legally protectable interest. It has been vindicated only as byproduct of protection of two other interests – bodily security as protected by rules against consented contact, and bodily well-being as protected by rules governing professional competence.
- Marjorie Shultz, in "Informed Consent : Legal Theory and Clinical Practice: Legal Theory and ..." p147
- Again, it reduces someone's moral responsibility and intellectual autonomy to a racial stereotype — that all blacks are innocent victims who cannot be held responsible for their beliefs or arguments; or that all blacks are so oppressed that any bigotry they utter is permissible.
- Autonomy is traditionally regarded as the instrument of agency for individuals who are perceived as separate, independent and fully rationale.
- Susan Sherwin, in "Informed Consent : Legal Theory and Clinical Practice: Legal Theory and ..." p. 32
- I have always been a strong supporter of patient’s autonomy in decision-making, particularly at the end of life and believe that this should be respected. By the same token, the doctor involved in the end-of-life decisions also has his autonomy to consider.
- Rodney Syme, in A Good Death: An Argument For Voluntary Euthanasia p. 129
- My parents have a wonderful marriage, but they have been together since my mother was 12, married when they were just teenagers and are barely ever separated. They even work together. As a result, I have always thought of marriage as involving the loss of a certain amount of autonomy.
- Listen to the desires of your children. Encourage them and then give them the autonomy to make their own decision.
- Denis Waitley, quoted by Lanna Nakone in Every Child Has a Thinking Style: A Guide to Recognizing and Fostering Each ... p. 71
- How you answer the question, whether individuals should be persuaded to live their whole lives in a state of chemical dependency, first upon contraceptive steroids and then on replacement therapy, depends upon your regard for the autonomy of the individual.
- Anonymous in Skepticism about Hormone Replacement Therapy
- Autonomy itself is not the monolithic concept it is sometimes imagined to be; as flower, instead of being simply an American Beauty, autonomy would be more of a varietal that come in several hues.
- Anonymous, in "Informed Consent : Legal Theory and Clinical Practice: Legal Theory and ..." p. 147