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The Metaphysics of Autonomy : The Reconciliation of Ancient and Modern Ideals of the Person - Mark Coeckelbergh

The Metaphysics of Autonomy

The Reconciliation of Ancient and Modern Ideals of the Person

Hardcover Published: 12th July 2004
ISBN: 9781403939388
Number Of Pages: 222

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If we want to be autonomous, what do we want? The author shows that contemporary value-neutral and metaphysically economical conceptions of autonomy, such as that of Harry Frankfurt, face a serious problem. Drawing on Plato, Augustine, and Kant, this book provides a sketch of how "ancient" and "modern" can be reconciled to solve it. But at what expense? It turns out that the dominant modern ideal of autonomy cannot do without a costly metaphysics if it is to be coherent.

'The author has a mastery of the literature on moral and political autonomy... [he has] made an interesting and original contribution to what is a vital contemporary debate.' - Professor Timothy O'Hagan, University of East Anglia

Prefacep. ix
p. 1
The Modern Ideal of Autonomyp. 3
Introductionp. 3
Berlin, Christman, and Feinbergp. 4
Frankfurtp. 5
Taylorp. 7
Further refinementsp. 8
My desires and my lifep. 9
The ideal of having many alternativesp. 10
Capacity and condition; political autonomyp. 10
The ideal of 'doing what you want'p. 11
Inner and outer autonomyp. 14
Autonomy and moralityp. 17
Conclusion: A sketch of the modern ideal of the autonomous personp. 18
Ancient Ideals of the Person: Plato and Augustinep. 19
Introductionp. 19
Plato's ideal of the personp. 21
The Phaedrusp. 21
The charioteer and the horsesp. 21
Plato and madnessp. 23
Dionysian madness and madness in ancient Greek culturep. 25
Book VII of the Republicp. 32
Augustine's ideal of the personp. 34
On Free Choice of the Willp. 34
Confessionsp. 40
The challengep. 44
Problems with the Modern Ideal: the Need for Extensionp. 46
Introductionp. 46
Frankfurt and the problem of infinite regressp. 46
Taylorp. 49
Murdochp. 50
Wolfp. 53
Feinbergp. 56
'Doing what you want' and the relation between freedom and autonomyp. 59
Conclusion: the gapp. 60
Using Plato and Augustine to Fill the Gapp. 62
Platop. 62
The Phaedrus againp. 62
Murdoch and Platonic visionp. 64
Merging ancient and modern ideals of the personp. 68
Madnessp. 71
Augustinep. 74
Plato and Augustinep. 75
Problemsp. 77
Conclusion: Overview of the argument in Part I and unresolved questions and difficultiesp. 83
p. 87
Introductionp. 89
Sartrean Existentialism: Extreme Freedom and Groundless Choicep. 93
Introductionp. 93
The Sartrean view of autonomyp. 94
Why we might want to adopt the Sartrean view of autonomyp. 95
What was left outp. 98
Objectionsp. 100
Conclusionp. 104
Frankfurtp. 105
Introductionp. 105
Frankfurt's idealp. 105
Frankfurt's central thesis: Love and care are essential to our autonomyp. 105
Frankfurt's concept of volitional necessityp. 106
The ideal of wholeheartednessp. 111
The necessity of lovep. 112
Being overwhelmed by love versus being overwhelmed by (other) compulsionsp. 113
Frankfurt's anti-Kantian argumentp. 114
Frankfurt's anti-Hobbesian argumentp. 116
Conclusion: Frankfurt's ideal of the autonomous personp. 117
The merits of Frankfurt's accountp. 118
Filling the 'gap' identified in Frankfurt's earlier account and solving the three problems identified for the extended ideal of autonomyp. 118
Providing good arguments against the ideal of 'doing what you want'p. 119
Providing a good argument against the Sartrean ideal of autonomyp. 121
Objectionsp. 122
Objections to Frankfurt's arguments (thematic)p. 122
Consequencesp. 138
Frankfurt's account fails to solve the problem of the endless hierarchy of desiresp. 138
Frankfurt's account does not deal adequately with the three problems the extended ideal leftp. 140
Frankfurt's account cannot be construed as an ideal/the best possible ideal of autonomyp. 141
Conclusionp. 143
Introduction to the Next Chapters: Two Kantian Ideals of Autonomyp. 146
Hill's Ideal of Autonomyp. 147
Introductionp. 147
Hill's Kantian ideal of autonomyp. 147
What the Kantian ideal of autonomy is not, according to Hillp. 148
What the Kantian ideal of autonomy is, according to Hillp. 152
Merits of Hill's ideal: the extent to which he achieves his aims and solves the problems of the extended ideal of autonomyp. 157
Why Hill fails to achieve his own aims: Is Hill's ideal Kantian?p. 160
Objections to Hill's idea of choice and deliberationp. 161
Why Hill fails to solve Problem Three of the extended idealp. 166
Conclusionp. 167
The Ideal of the Person in Kant's Groundworkp. 169
Introductionp. 169
The ideal person according to Kantp. 170
Principles and reasonsp. 170
Autonomyp. 176
Good will and the goodp. 178
Why Kant's ideal of autonomy is not morally 'neutral'p. 180
Is self-control a Kantian virtue? More on Kant's second-best ideal of the personp. 182
Kant's answer to Problem Threep. 186
Two contradictory positions on the relation between autonomy and moralityp. 186
The Wille/Willkur distinction reconsidered: Kant's concept of radical evilp. 189
Conclusionp. 192
Conclusionp. 193
Kantian autonomy and the extended ideal of autonomyp. 193
General conclusionp. 194
Conclusion of Part IIp. 196
Notesp. 198
Bibliographyp. 205
Indexp. 207
Table of Contents provided by Rittenhouse. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9781403939388
ISBN-10: 1403939381
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 222
Published: 12th July 2004
Publisher: Palgrave USA
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 21.6 x 14.0  x 1.91
Weight (kg): 0.43
Edition Number: 1