Personal autonomy through education
Beaver, Anthony R. (1987) Personal autonomy through education. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.
The concept of personal autonomy as an educational ideal is analysed from its etymological roots of autos and nomos. The autos is shown to be most closely associated with authenticity and this concept is explored from existentialist roots. Authenticity's points of contact with reason are examined and the authentic individual is shown to be a deep, reflective evaluator of his own motives but existentialist radical choice of self is shown to be essentially incoherent. The nomos is linked to reason and the criteria it picks out. The limits upon reason are considered but its significance to personal autonomy is shown to be considerable; reason is argued to embrace feeling and a dimension of practical reason. The adjective, personal, is not redundant within personal autonomy as an educational ideal and is held to have significant moral implications for autonomy. A Millian analysis of the 'endowment' of a person is considered and perspectives from both developmental psychology and an ancient tradition embracing persons and virtues are shown to relate to autonomy.
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