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Relational Autonomy, Personhood, and African Traditions

Relational Autonomy, Personhood, and African Traditions Polycarp Ikuenobe Department of Philosophy, Kent State University pikuenob@kent.edu Introduction The commonplace view of autonomy involves the ability of individuals to be selfgoverning and self-legislating, and to make freely and reflectively deliberate choices and decisions. This idea of autonomy -- that persons are metaphysically free, that is, that they have free will and may use reason to choose how they shall act -- is considered to be a defining feature of a responsible person. There is a commonplace view that autonomy (freedom of will and choice) is intrinsically good such that overriding it cannot be justified.1 This intrinsic value implies a negative sense of autonomy, which involves non-interference with one's free choices, as opposed to a positive sense, which involves helping or enabling one to make `good' free choices.2 One feature of communalism in African traditions is its normative conception of personhood, which indicates how a community, based on its values, obligations, and social recognition, may shape an individual's identity and choices. Some have argued that this communal view of personhood is inconsistent with or vitiates autonomy because the community strongly determines the choices that individuals make, and in some cases it imposes its will on individuals such http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Philosophy East and West University of Hawai'I Press

Relational Autonomy, Personhood, and African Traditions

Philosophy East and West , Volume 65 (4) – Oct 23, 2015

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Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 University of Hawai'i Press.
ISSN
1529-1898
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Abstract

Polycarp Ikuenobe Department of Philosophy, Kent State University pikuenob@kent.edu Introduction The commonplace view of autonomy involves the ability of individuals to be selfgoverning and self-legislating, and to make freely and reflectively deliberate choices and decisions. This idea of autonomy -- that persons are metaphysically free, that is, that they have free will and may use reason to choose how they shall act -- is considered to be a defining feature of a responsible person. There is a commonplace view that autonomy (freedom of will and choice) is intrinsically good such that overriding it cannot be justified.1 This intrinsic value implies a negative sense of autonomy, which involves non-interference with one's free choices, as opposed to a positive sense, which involves helping or enabling one to make `good' free choices.2 One feature of communalism in African traditions is its normative conception of personhood, which indicates how a community, based on its values, obligations, and social recognition, may shape an individual's identity and choices. Some have argued that this communal view of personhood is inconsistent with or vitiates autonomy because the community strongly determines the choices that individuals make, and in some cases it imposes its will on individuals such

Journal

Philosophy East and WestUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Oct 23, 2015

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