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Publisher Description

[Review Essay: John Christman and Joel Anderson (eds.), Autonomy and the Challenges to Liberalism: New Essays (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), xii + 383 pp.] The last three decades have been witness to a great blossoming of work on both personal autonomy and political philosophy. The interest in autonomy was no doubt largely owed to Harry Frankfurt's seminal 1971 essay, "Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person," in which he developed his influential "hierarchical" account of what is required for a person to act of her own free will--an account that has been widely construed as being an account of personal autonomy. (1) This interest in autonomy was further stimulated by the publication of John Christman's important anthology The Inner Citadel, in which the nature and value of autonomy was examined and applied to broader moral and political questions. (2) Similarly, the renewed interest in political philosophy was generated by the publication of John Rawls's A Theory of Justice in 1971, and then Robert Nozick's critique of Rawls's work in Anarchy, State, and Utopia in 1974. (3) The simultaneous rise of both autonomy theory and political philosophy is not, however, entirely coincidental. According to most strands of political liberalism, the authority of the State rests on the consent of the governed. This justificatory approach must rest on an account of when the consent of the governed possesses the appropriate authority--and offering such an account is parallel to offering an answer to the question of when a person autonomously gives her consent. Furthermore, in developing an account of autonomy, one is likely to develop an account of why autonomy is valuable. From this, one is likely to consider which political arrangements are most likely to respond appropriately to autonomy's value. Yet the interaction between the debates over the nature and value of autonomy and the debates over political liberalism does not end there. To explore further the ways in which these discussions both interact and parallel each other, John Christman and Joel Anderson commissioned essays that explore this interaction from some of the leading figures in both autonomy theory and political philosophy. The resulting volume, Autonomy and the Challenges to Liberalism: New Essays, is a collection of uniformly excellent papers that both individually and together significantly advance the discussions of both autonomy and political liberalism.

GENRE
Religion & Spirituality
RELEASED
2006
July 1
LANGUAGE
EN
English
LENGTH
26
Pages
PUBLISHER
Social Theory and Practice-Florida State University
SELLER
The Gale Group, Inc., a Delaware corporation and an affiliate of Cengage Learning, Inc.
SIZE
223.7
KB

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