In this article, Fabian Freyenhagen argues that autonomy has to be conceived substantively in order to serve as the qualifying condition for receiving the full set of individual liberal rights. He shows that the common distinction between content – neutral and substantive accounts of autonomy is riddled with confusion and ambiguities, and provides a clear alternative taxonomy. At least insofar as we are concerned with liberal settings, the real question is whether or not the value(s) and norm(s) implied by an account of autonomy are acceptable to reasonable people, not whether these accounts are content-neutral, procedural or input-focused. Finally, Freyenhagen demonstrates how substantive constraints are compatible with, or even implied in, the notion of autonomy at play in (Rawls’s) political liberalism. Overall, he presents a normative reconstruction, clariﬁcation, and internal critique of liberalism, drawing on case law and statutes from England and Wales.
SubjectsAutonomy and Philosophy
How to cite this document:
(2015) Autonomy’s Substance. Journal of Applied Philosophy, 34(1): 114–129. doi: 10.1111/japp.12133