The Scope of Autonomy: Kant and the Morality of Freedom

ISBN : 9780199646159

Katerina Deligiorgi
256 ページ
146 x 222 mm

Katerina Deligiorgi offers a contemporary defence of autonomy that is Kantian in orientation but which engages closely with recent arguments about agency, morality, and practical reasoning. Autonomy is a key concept in contemporary moral philosophy with deep roots in the history of the subject. However, there is still no agreed view about the correct way to formulate an account of autonomy that adequately captures both our capacity for self-determination and our responsiveness to reasons. The theory defended in The Scope of Autonomy is distinctive in two respects. First, whereas autonomy has primarily been understood in terms of our relation to ourselves, Deligiorgi shows that it also centrally involves our relation to others. Identifying the intersubjective dimension of autonomy is crucial for the defence of autonomy as a morality of freedom. Second, autonomy must be treated as a composite concept and hence not capturable in simple definitions such as acting on one's higher order desires or on principles one endorses. One of the virtues of the composite picture is that it shows autonomy lying at the intersection of concerns with morality, practical rationality, and freedom. Autonomy pertains to all these areas, though it does not exactly coincide with any of them. Proving this, and so tracing the scope of autonomy, is therefore essential: Deligiorgi shows that autonomy is theoretically plausible, psychologically realistic, and morally attractive.


1. Introduction: autonomy: specification of a term, recognition of a problem
2. Moral knowledge: pure reason and the law
3. Moral action: normativity, motivation and autonomous willing
4. Freedom as constraint: the morality of autonomy
5. Knowing hearts: emotion, value, and judgement
6. The scope of autonomy: agency, freedom, and morality


Katerina Deligiorgi is interested in how reason and value interconnect and how they shape our lives. Kant and Hegel are key points of reference for this work. She is the author of Kant and the Culture of Enlightenment (2005) and editor of Hegel: New Directions (2006); she also edits the Bulletin of the Hegel Society of Great Britain. Her current project, following on from The Scope of Autonomy: Kant and the Morality of Freedom, focuses on the metaphysics and epistemology of action and the theoretical challenges posed by contemporary neuroscience.