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Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie

Zweimonatsschrift der internationalen philosophischen Forschung

Ed. by Demmerling, Christoph / Esser, Andrea Marlen / Krüger, Hans-Peter / Menke, Christoph

6 Issues per year

CiteScore 2017: 0.05

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.116
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 0.050

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Volume 59, Issue 6


Personale Autonomie als praktische Autorität

Christian Seidel
Published Online: 2011-12-20 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1524/dzph.2011.0072


Autonomy and authority are often regarded as opposites. In this paper, I argue that autonomy should be conceived of as a specific form of (practical) authority and that this perspective is useful for identifying the conditions of personal autonomy. I will first highlight some structural analogies in the functioning of the concepts “autonomy” and “authority” and explain the resulting constraints on accounts of personal autonomy. I will then show that the problems of certain internalist and externalist accounts of autonomy are rooted in a false understanding of the foundation on which the authority that is characteristic of autonomy rests. To conclude, I present an account in which this foundation is given by a person’s maturity (Mündigkeit), defensiveness (Wehrhaftigkeit) and participation (Mitsprache): Thus, a person is autonomous to the extent that she can cope with her own affairs, can defend herself against external encroachments and can participate in common affairs.

Keywords: autonomy; authority; defensiveness; maturity; participation

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Published Online: 2011-12-20

Published in Print: 2011-12-01

Citation Information: Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie Zweimonatsschrift der internationalen philosophischen Forschung, Volume 59, Issue 6, Pages 897–915, ISSN (Print) 0012-1045, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1524/dzph.2011.0072.

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