Authority and Autonomy: An Ethical Perspective
position give credence to the opinion rendered regardless o the actthat it seems to be incorrect?hese explorations are crucial to deepening our understandingo these ideas. Much has been written in recent years on authority and autonomy, giving us a wide array o analyses and opinions withwhich we can work.
n this paper would like to explore the issuerom a dierent perspective. etermining the role o autonomy andits relation to authority has an ethical dimension. here are more andless ethical ways to make use o one’s authority. here are positiveethical values at work in the desire or autonomy as well. And the samecan be said or the interplay between them. While the issue must beconsidered rom within a conceptual and legal-halakhic ramework, italso raises important issues regarding sel and other, and regarding thedignity—the
—o those with whom we interact.
REFRAMING THE DILEMMA
o consider the topic in this way, we must begin by reraming the issue.he title o this session immediately limits and guides the discussionalong the lines o a common binary—on the one hand, there isauthority, and on the other, autonomy. Hidden beneath the surace o this binary are judgments that immediately give particular shape to thedilemma that it raises and, in turn, impact on the available options ordealing with the problem. As Orthodox Jews, we intuit that one side inthis binary is more correct than the other. We are
—we mustunderstand and accept the idea o commandedness. Expressions o autonomy, by defnition, distance one rom authority and contain theseeds o rebellion. Autonomy, then, becomes a value to be rejected or,at worst, tolerated in some measure. t is a product o modernity, andit is alien to authentic Jewish living. here is a conceptual and logicalrigor to such an orientation that runs as ollows: we are obligatedto ollow ivine law and there are authorities who interpret the law,then it is also our obligation to ollow the authorities who interpretthe law. And, to wit, an explicit verse,
, perhaps teaches us thatsuch is the case. Viewing autonomy as a Western intrusion has roots inpolitical philosophy. orah is based on a sense o obligation and ivine