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Personal Autonomy and Society

Marina A. L. Oshana
Recent work in philosophy has addressed the issue of personal autonomy as a phenomenon distinct from free will and moral responsibility. I want to add to the discussion. Specifically, I wish to defend the claim that personal autonomy, understood as self-government, is a socio-relational phenomenon. By this I mean that autonomy is a condition of persons constituted, in large part, by the external, social relations people find themselves in (or the absence of certain social relations).' I will contrast the social or external account with what I will call "internalist" or "psychological" theories of self-determination. Briefly, internalist theories take the perspective of the individual whose self-government is at issue to determine her autonomy. Such accounts are Cartesian in that they make the autonomy of persons derivative of specific psychological conditions. What goes on in the head of the individual, rather than what goes on in the world around her, decides her standing as self-goveming or not. I will begin by offering a set of quite general intuitions about what we mean when we say that an individual is self-governing. I think these intuitions will be accepted by those, such as the internalist, who propose quite different accounts of autonomy from my own, and I will employ them throughout this paper. Next, I will review in greater detail intemalist theories of autonomy. Although internalist accounts enjoy current favor, I think they are inadequate. For provided that certain psychological conditions are met, an intemalist would count as autonomous one who is enslaved, or bound and gagged. The externalist, by contrast, will deny autonomy to this person and will claim that to characterize him as such is counterintuitive. In section three,I will offer several case studies intended to document the inadequacies of intemalist accounts. I will then propose a set of conditions for an external or social account of autonomy suggested by these case studies. In the fifth and final section, I shall explore the consequences and the advantages of a socia1 focus. My aim is to show that a socio-relational conception of autonomy is of greater philosophical value and intuitive appeal than are various intemalist accounts.
1 Intuitions about Autonomy

Generally speaking, an autonomous person is one who is self-directed.


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The autonomous person formulates certain goals ,as relevant to the direction of her life, and is able to pursue these goals and make them effectivein action. Moreover, she formulates these goals according to values, desires, and convictions that have developed in an uncoerced and conscious fashion. Such values can be described as the agents own even while they reflect the influence of factors external to her. Additionally, an autonomous person is able to meet her goals without depending upon the judgments of others as to their validity and importance. Though the autonomous individual may require the assistance of others in meeting these goals, she decides which of them are most important. Together, the intuitions suggest that an autonomous person is in control of her choices, her actions, and her will? There are many ways to understand the phenomenon of being in control.The idea could be interpreted weakly. Some philosophers contend, for example, that a person can remain in control of his choices, actions, and will even when the person acts under conditions that could undermine self-government. For example, the person who, for reasons of drug addiction, coercion, subordinaterank, or weakness of will, could not do otherwise than perform a particular act (ingest a drug, relinquish money to a mugger, execute a military order, or blow a diet) might nevertheless be deemed in control of his actions if he would have done the act anyway independently and of his own free will. Thus control is possible even in the absence of alternate possibilities, and in the face of factors that are suffiaent to determine ones actions? It is this sort of control that the internalists tend to highlight. I believe that personal autonomy calls for a more stringent interpretation of being in control. As the case studies that follow illustrate, a person might independently arrive at preferences that mirror those she holds under conditions where control is absent. It may even be fortunate that this coincidence occurs. But the fact that there is this coincidence will not decide in favor of autonomy. When we say that a person is self-governing because she is in control of her actions and choices, we are saying more than that the persons actions coincide with preferences or values that are her own. We are saying that the person has the power to determine how she shall live. Being autonomous is not simply a matter of having values that are authentic, but of directing ones life according to such values. And this calls for control over ones external circumstances. One familiar way to understand these intui,tions is through the idea that autonomy is the good which paternalism fails to respect. The autonomous individual may heed the advice, even the directives, of others, and her choices and actions may be inspired by a source other than herself. But no one must decide or act for the individual, and the opinions of others must not be the wellspring from which the individual judges her choices and actions to be valid and legitimate. The self-governing person must face minimal interference in her actions and choices. Interferencescan be of a psychological or a physical nature, and they can originate from within the individual as easily as they can

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from without. They include the familiar offenders of autonomy, such as coercion, manipulation, and subjection to the dominant will of another, as well as internal phenomena native to the individual such as captivity to desires or physical impulses, psychological neuroses, or weakness of the will. For persons who suffer in these respects lack the physical ability, emotional conviction, or volitional fortitude to be in control of their choices, actions, and will, no matter how fervently they might wish otherwise.
2 Internalist Accounts of Autonomy

What sort of theory of autonomyis consonant with these intuitions? In recent years, attention has focused on what I have called intemalist interpretations of self-determination.Internalist models understand ascriptions of personal autonomy to depend only on the structural and/or historical character of a person's psychological states and dispositions, and on an agent's judgments about them. The most influential of these theories is Gerald Dworkin's "hierarchical" account of self-determination-a theory, he informs us, about "internal, psychological freed~m."~ According to Dworkin, the condition of personal autonomy is best explained by appealing to a bileveled psychology in which are found the agent's "preferences about desires to do X."6 Dworkin maintains that agents are autonomous when they "identify" with the lower-order desires that move them to act following critical evaluation and confirmationby desires of a higher order. This is the "authenticity" requirement. In addition, he requires that a person identify with her desires under conditions of "procedural independence." This means that any factors that influence a person's reflective and critical faculties must promote and improve these faculties rather than subvert them. Together, authenticity and procedural independence provide "the full formula for aut~nomy."~ Most recently, Dworkin has replaced the identification condition with the requirement that the self-governing individual have the second-order capacity to evaluate, and if necessary, amend, her first-ordermotivations. It is this "capacity to raise the question whether I will identify with or reject the reasons for which I now act"8 that is crucial for autonomy, for when this capacity is exercised, "persons define their na t u r e . . . and take responsibility for the kind of person they are."9 Jntemalistvariations of the hierarchicalmodel havebeen proposed. Gary Watson advances a "Platonic" theory of free-agency, a condition that can be understood as akin to personal autonomy.10Watson interpretsfree-agency as a condition of persons who are rational and who are motivated by what they value as much, if not more, as by what they desire. Specifically, autonomy calls for a harmonious integration of the valuational and motivational systems of the agent. More recently, John Christman has argued that autonomy is a function of the development of a person's psychological states, and of the person's

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participation in that process. Christman identifies autonomy as the actual psychological condition of self-governmentdefined as the ability to be selfgoverning.11He contends that this condition is forthcoming when an individuals psychology remains, throughout its history, free from factors that illegitimatelyinfluence the individual. Illegitimateinfluencesare those that compromise an individuals ability to evaluate the manner in which the desires that motivate her are formed. A fourfoldtest precludes illegitimacy and thereby determines autonomy: factors external to the individual cannotbe the solecauses of the individuals preferences; the process by which a person comes to have desires, and the factors that influence the development of desires, must be transparentto the person; if, at any moment, the person wishes to revise her desires once the manner in which they transpire is evident to her, she must be able to do so; and the person must be rational, i.e., her desires must emerge from a consistent set of beliefs.12 htemalist theories deserve praise. Characteristics of a persons psychology, including dispositional qualities and traits of temperament, are In certainly relevant to that persons preparedness for self-go~enunent.~~ addition, the internalist approach offers a way of dealing with the worry that self-determination calls for self-creation or complete control over ones life. Whether or not causal determinism is true, this seems a difficult condition to meet. We are, after all, interdependent in many ways, and are subject to a variety of external influences, and it is not obvious that all of these undermine autonomy. The hierarchical analysisof Dworkin circumventsthis putative requirement by noting that autonomy is guaranteed as long as nothing occurs to compromisethe structuralintegrity of the agents psychology. Autonomy does not require that a persons desires or values have developed under conditions over which she has complete control. In fad, that a person has been subject to coercion, manipulation, deception, or run-of-the-mill socialization is unimportant; what is important is the effect such factors can have upon her capacity to identify with her operative desires and in a procedurally independent manner, Similarly, Christman argues that autonomy cannot be a matter of being unaffected by any of the multitude of external influences that make selfcreation impossible. Rather, what distinguishes the autonomous from the nonautonomous agent is that whatever factors do affect the psychology of the former neither constrain her reflective capacities nor compromise her ability to approve or disapprove of the manner in which her motivations were formed. But the intemalists approach to personal autonomy is not without its problems. Two consequences are especially noteworthy. First, intemalist theories in effect assimilate autonomy with respect to ones preferences or values with the autonomy of persons, as if what can be predicated of the former can be predicated of persons as well. This assimilation signals the need for an alternate account of self-government.The prob-

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lem is not merely that internalists lack an adequate account of the condition of personal autonomy in terms of things other than preferences. Rather, they contend that the autonomy of persons is a matter of the condition of a persons psychology, and they seek no other account. Nor is it true that the intemalist is attempting to explain something other than the autonomy of persons, such as psychological freedom simpliciter.What is distinctiveabout the internalist is his attempt to explain the autonomy of persons in terms of ones autonomy with respect to ones psychological states. But, as the case studies will show, there is no natural transition from a conception of autonomy that focuses on psychological states, or capacities, to an account of the autonomy of persons. Although a persons status as self-governing is in part dependent on her psychology, personal autonomy and autonomy vis a vis ones psychological states differ in kind; since the subjects vary, the conditions for each may vary as well. In any event, what I am interested in is not autonomy with respect to ones preferences or history and the conditions that make that possible but rather the autonomy of persons, persons who have certain preferences, and who pursue certain options. Second, according to internalist theories, people with the same psychology are, ips0 facto, equally autonomous (or nonautonomous). A more externalist theory such as I will offer denies that personal autonomy is a condition that supervenes on psychological or dispositional states alone. On the external analysis, it is possible for two individuals to satisfy all the psychological and historical conditions we have been discussing, but to differ with respect to their status as autonomous beings-and this difference is to be explained in terms of some variance in their social circumstances. (Thestudy of Harriet, in the following section, illustratesthis point.) In addition to whatever subjective psychological characteristicsare required for autonomy there are objective social criteria according to which we judge someone as autonomous, and these externalcriteria are independent of the individuals internal state. I have called the externalist account I favor socio-relationalby way of contrasting it with an internalist account. By this I do not mean to imply that intemalist accounts lack a relational component, and that they are flawed for this reason. My complaint about intemalist accounts of autonomy is not that they fail to include among the components of a persons psychology certain relational or interactivequalities or abilities. Rather, my complaint is that such accounts are exclusively subjective. The agents psychological condition-specifically, the structural and historical character of her judgments and preferences-is alone important for her autonomy. The psychological emphasis of internalist theories reflects the conviction that preserving the autonomy of persons consists in preserving what is metaphorically described as the inner citadel. The metaphor asks us to assume the existence of some essential (presumably psychological) element of the individual, independent of the world and inviolable, in virtue of which autonomy is safeguarded. This element is often referred

86 Marina A. L. Oshana to as the true self or real self.14 h i n k the imagery of an inner citadel advances our understandI do not t ing of personal autonomy. In the first place, the existence of such an element is questionable and requires considerable defense; at the very least, h i s true self is. (Perhaps it is somewe need some explanation of what t thing akin to K a n t s Wille?) In the second place, our intuitions make it unlikely that it will be a condition that attaches to a person as to an entity separated from the world, as the metaphor implies. Moreover, if I am correct that autonomy is determined by how a person interacts with others, the metaphor of the inner citadel will not accurately capture the condition of the self-determined agent.
2 Case Studies

The following four case studies establish that persons who are nonautonomous in certain situations fail to be autonomous because they lack characteristics that only a social theory of self-determination can accommodate. Each is intended to highlight the extemalists intuition that autonomy is incompatible with constraint-even where constraint is selfchosen and reflects a free, rational choice. The first three cases depict personswho satisfy the various intemalist criteria for autonomy but who nevertheless fail to meet the general intuitions for self-government. To simplify, I consider a hybrid intemalist theory according to which the criteria are second-order identification with the operative desire, integration of motivational and valuational systems, and historically proper preference formation. The fourth case depicts persons who lack autonomy but who nevertheless have authority over this lack.
Case #1: Voltinta y slavery

Consider the situation of the contented slave. Let us suppose, first, that the decision to become a slave was autonomous, in that it met the conditions for psychological autonomy proffered by the internalists. This individual has willingly relinquished his rights, and has chosen to be a slave under conditions free of whatever factors might impair the autonomy of his decision. Second, assume that a life of slavery is consistent with this persons values and that it satisfies his notion of well-being. What role, if any do these facts play in determining the autonomy of the slave? Is his autonomy guaranteed by the fact that he possesses an integrated and coherent psychology, and that he has arrived at this preference in a procedurally independent manner? Does the fact that he expresses happiness or approval over his situation transform what seems to be a state that violates autonomy into one of nonviolation? It is certainly possible for a persons conception of well-being to fail to include an interest in a~tonorny.~ For example, deeply religious persons may believe that their interests are best served by following, without question, the edicts of their leaders. Such persons will not value or seek self-

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determination. Furthermore, persons who do value and wish for self-determination, but who have given up hope of achieving that state, may formulate conceptions of welfare and pursue ventures that perpetuate their condition. For example, such individuals might believe it in their best interests to remain in dysfunctional domesticsituations rather than risk the frustrations and challenges that accompany life on ones own.16 Not everyone, then, will include the autonomous life among those goals integral to their well-being, nor is autonomyguaranteed by an individuals successin achieving what he believes to be in his best interest. The question of immediateinterest is whether the individual who seeks a situation of enslavement-who knowingly, willingly, and freely chooses a life of bondage-where this choice fulfills his version of well-being, is autonomous as a result. I claim that this person is not. The slave does consent to the state of affairs in which he finds himself, but what he consents to is a loss of freedom. And although the slave may be unhampered in his pursuit of his conception of the good life, what he has in mind for that life, and what he in fact obtains, is a life that satisfies few, if any, of the intuitions described above, and so is a life of nonautonomy.* For whether or not the slave has freely chosen bondage, and whether or not, once he is a slave, he expresses pleasure or displeasure with his status, having become a slave he has no authority over those aspects of his social situation that influence his will and the direction of his life.Ig Being a slave means that how he shall live is,no longer up to him. The slave is denied the possibility of seeing himself as an independent participant in the willing, planning, and controlling aspect of the projects he works on. Instead, he is harnessed to somebody elses...enterprise as though he were merely a natural force, like a beast of burden or like water-power.20 The slave may never actually experience treatment of the sort that provides plain evidence of a failure of self-determination.But why should such evidence be required? The slave might always comply with his masters orders, and as a reward for his obedience he might never suffer punishment (assuming,of course, that his master is reasonable).Nevertheless, servility, degradation, the expectation of punishment, and dependence on the good will of his master are very real, actual properties of his condition, whether or not punitive treatment is ever realized. k i n g a slave means that he could be punished or mistreated at his masters whim. Thus the fact that he is not autonomous is a fact about the actual situation, the truth of which rests upon the truth of certain counterfactual claims. That the slave feels content does not indicate that he is self-governing. The slave might feel satisfied because the tasks he performs are less menial than are those performed by his counterparts, and for this he is grateful. He may be content because his master allows h i m the opportunity to learn to read and write, an envied and valuable skill. But the fact that he is better off than are most other slaves, and that his attitude is one of appreciation, does not mean that he is free.His lack of autonomy is in part signaled by the fact that he looks upon literacy as a gift to be thankful for. By contrast, a free

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man, even if he were grateful to be literate, would likely view literacy as a skill to which he has a right. What have intemalists to say about the autonomy of the contented slave?21 Dworkin remarks that
If we conceive of autonomy as the capacity of individuals to critically reflect on and take responsibility for the kind of persons they want to be, then...there is nothing in the idea of autonomy which precludes a person from saying: I want to be the kind of person who acts at the commands of others. I define myself as a slave and endorse those attitudes and preferences. My autonomy consists in being a slave. If this is coherent, and I think it is, one cannot argue against such slavery on the grounds of autonomy.

But is this coherent? Dworkin claims that one cannot argue that voluntary slavery offends autonomy, because its voluntary nature renders it consistent with autonomy But Dworkins argument is unsatisfactory for the following reasons. First, it relies too heavily on choice as a sufficient condition for autonomy. But choice does not guarantee autonomy,for the person who chooses might be compelled to do so, and to do so from within the confines of a situation that grants her no autonomy; consider Sophies choice.23And since a person can freely select a life that denies him selfdetermination, the exercise of choice is no guarantee that the result of that choice will be a situation in which the chooser is autonomous. The person who chooses slavery is of course (at least partially) responsible for his resulting lack of autonomy But autonomy is absent as long as he remains a slave, for he is subject to coercion and his standing remains one o f compliance, submissiveness, and dependency. This suggests a further point. It is certainly possible that a person could autonomously choose nonautonomy; the example of the religious devotee offers a plausible case in point. Some, however, would question whether the person who conceives of servitude as a state that will contribute to his welfare, and who pursues that state in light of this beliefwho opts for the choice that denies him autonomy-really is autonomous to begin with. For example, Thomas Hill recalls Rousseaus thought that the very idea of consenting to slavery (or, analogously, to torture or imprisonment) is incoherent, since it means that the agent displays a conditioned slavish mentality that renders [such] consent worthless. Hill argues that a persons consent releases others from obligation only if it is autonomously given, and consent resulting from underestimation of ones moral status [as a human being entitled to a certain body of rights] is not autonomously Although I do not share Hills belief, it merits consideration. For if Hi11 is correct, then it is unlikely that truly autonomous desires-desires that meet the hybrid conditions of the internalist-will be for states of

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nonautonomy. A person who is autonomous, or who at least meets the internalists criteria for psychological autonomy, will desire situations of autonomy. Equally, a persons desire for nonautonomy will be sufficient to signal her lack of autonomy or of an autonomous psychology. In short, being autonomous (or having an autonomous psychology) will turn on having desires of a certain sort. I want to put this concern on hold for the moment, and return to it in considering the next case-study. The point to be made at this juncture is that, if Hills objection holds, it raises difficulties for Dworkins claim that the slaves desire is consistent with autonomy. Finally, Dworkins analysis suggests that the ability to critically reflect in a procedurally independent fashion is sufficient for the condition of being autonomous. But being able to engage in critical reflection, to take stock of oneself and to shape oneself on the basis of this evaluation, does not guarantee that whatever state of affairs ensues from this activity will be one of personal autonomy. Since actually being autonomous depends on circumstancesbeyond those descriptiveof a persons psychology, it may still be possible to argue against slavery on the grounds of autonomy.

Case #2: The subservient woman Consider the woman whose role as spouse and as homemaker affords her less recognition and independence than she deservesand than she might otherwise have. Let us imagine that this woman, whom I shall call Harriet, prefers to be subservient. I will assume that Harriet is sober and mature, and that we have no reason to suspect any failure on her part to give her preferencefor this life-style whatever measure of deliberationit merits. Nor have we reason to believe that she has not evaluated her motivations to whatever extent seems appropriate. Harriets reasons for her actions are consistent, value-reflective, and historically sound. She possesses adequate informationabout, and has taken a critical and reflective stance with regard to, the events that have shaped her character and her desires, and she has no wish to alter these events. I will even assume that Harriet finds her life gratifymg and has no wish to alter it. There is nothing she values or wants more than she wants subservience. Thus she has no preferences of a higher order that are somehow ineffective against her will. Let us return now to Hills concern about persons who choose nonautonomy.Against Hill, I want to deny that Harriets lack of autonomy rests on the substance of her preferences and desires. A persons preferences-for religious devotion, for slavery, for subservience, for powercan certainly serve as an indicator of that persons ability to be self-governing, and some desires more than others are hospitable to autonomy. But having a desire for nonautonomy does not entail that the individual who has the desire is nonautonomous; I might desire to experience the nonautonomous conditionof hypnosis, while being autonomousin my wish. Nor must such a desire emerge from conditionshostile to autonomy.Of course, if Harriets desire for subservience was produced by a socially reinforced belief in her inferior status, then we might be persuaded that her

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choice was not autonomous. Her lack of autonomy could be traced to an unsupportive history? But we have assumed that such a history is not true of Harriet. In spite of the fact that Harriet's desires may be regrettable, she meets the intemalist's qualifications for autonomy? Harriet's lack of autonomy is not due to her lamentable desires. But neither is her self-determinationguaranteed by the fact that she satisfiesthe intemalistcriteria. Harriet has the "right" psychology. Nonethelessshe fails to be autonomous-not because she wants to be subservient, but because she is subservient. Her lack of autonomy is due to her personal relations with others and to the social institutions of her society. Let us assume the social relations Harriet is party to, given her role as homemaker, afford her less financial flexibility, less confidence and emotional security and fewer opportunities for intellectual and creative development than she could have were these relations otherwise.u Absent, too, from Harriet's life are economic and political institutions that might empower homemakers. Harriet's life is similar to that standardly ascribed to an average woman in a fundamentalistIslamic society. She has few options for action and little authority over her social situation.Although Harriet is "master of her will," although she lives in a manner consonant with her preferences, the "choices" she makes are guided almost entirely by the judgments and recommendations of others. Taken together, these facts imply that Harriet is not autonomous. But an internalist theory would characterize her as autonomous, despite her subservient situation. We might strengthen this case by assuming that Harriet's regard for others not only exceeds any regard she pays herself, but supersedes or supplants that regard. W e could assume Harriet does not t h i n k of herself as anything other than an other-regarding caregiver, and that she fails to perceive herself as someone whose activities, needs, preferences, and interests have value independently of the value they have for others. We could describe Harriet as someone who systematically disregards her own counsel, and fails to act in a self-managed way. We need not do this, however, since Harriet's lack of autonomy is not owing to a deficient measure of self-regard, nor to the failure of others to accord her consideration.Self-respect and respectful treatment from others may make it more likely that a person will be autonomous, but neither are f self-governmerkB Certainly how a person regards herself constitutive o colors the choices she makes, the activitiesshe pursues, and the desires she has. And when a person's feelings of inadequacy cause her chronically to make "choices which call for submission to humiliation or maltreab~ent,"~~ choices which will be attended by an acceptance of maltreatment from others, autonomy is impossible. Similarly, self-respect is needed to inspire others to reciprocate with a similar attitude of respect toward oneself. The person who, for example, constantly reneges on, or is inconsistent about, the personal values he establishes for himself exhibits no commitment to these and so cannot expect

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that others will take his expression of these values seriously. As a result, others might regard this individual as less than capable of self-government just because he appears incapable of upholding a system of values. Nonetheless, that a person respects himself or fails to do so will not decide his status as self-governing. The inadequacy of intemalistaccounts can be illustrated by contrasting the case of Harriet with that of a homemaker who is self-governing. Both Harriet and her counterpart, whom I shall call Wilma, share the properties touted by the internalist. Both possess structurally coherent psychologies, and each offers reasons for her actions that are consistent, value-reflective, and historically sound. But suppose that the personal relations in which Wilma finds herself, and the social institutions that affect her life, afford her control over her choices. She directs her life from within a range of possibilities that promise economic independence and the opportunity for personal growth. Moreover, although Wilma may view herself as an other-regarding caregiver, she is treated by others as one whose needs and wants deserve to be respected, and this desert is reinforced by her social situation. While both women desire to be of service to others, only Harriet finds herself subservient. Wilma can be described as autonomous while Harriet cannot.

Case #3: The conscientious objector Consider the conscientious objector (CO) who chooses prison rather than denounce his pacifistic principles. Let us suppose that the CO identifies with his choice, and it is the choice most consistent with his values. He might even be said to have brought imprisonment upon himself. But since incarceration denies the CO control over his daily life, and renders him dependent on the judgment and will of others for the satisfaction of his objectives and for the direction of his life, the CO must be judged "nonautonomous." The intemalist, however, will claim that the CO not merely decides in an autonomousfashion, but that he remains autonomous insofar as the psychological and historical criteria are met. The CO may marshal the "respect" of others; he might be admired, perhaps even by his captors, for his emotional fortitude or for his fidelity to his principles. (The slave might be similarly admired.) But respect of this sort will not make the incarcerated individual autonomous. The followinganalogymay help illurninate the extemalist's assessment of the slave, the housewife, and the CO. Consider a state occupied and controlled by a foreign power. The state might not object to this occupation. Indeed, its Congress might vote after the occupation to welcome the foreign power, and might develop a rational plan of action for the occupation. And the citizens might never experience hardship or adversity in this situation. An intemalist account would call this state autonomous because it is master of its will; the state has fashioned goals for itself of which it approves, the political situation external to its goveming body notwithstanding. But an extemalist will claim that it makes more sense to deny that this

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state is self-governingbecause it is subject to the dictates of a foreign power. Not being subject to the dictates of others is part of what it means to be selfgoverning. This is as true of a state as it is of a slave.
Case #4: The monk

It is possible to relinquish ones autonomous condition without losing authority over that condition. A monk, for example, who opts to live under the dictates of a religious order, thereby foregoing his autonomy may nonetheless preserve the power to reinstate his autonomy. Suppose that every year it is up to the monk to decide whether to remain in the order and to continue conducting his life in a manner that denies him a fuller range of freedom. Then, even if the religious order has power over him sufficient to compel him to behave in a certain way, the monk can annul this power annually,in much the same way that individuals have the legal authority to dissolve the terms of certain contracts.30Unlike the slave, the monk has consented to a condition that guarantees him ultimate authority over himh i sregard. self on a yearly basis, and he is sovereign in t Nonetheless, his monastic superiors preserve authority in the interim, for his life is ruled by them on a daily basis. Thus the fact that the monk can annul his status as nonautonomousdoes not mean he is self-governing.But in light of the social relations he is party to, the monk can become selfgoverning merely by revoking his decision to be subservient. The slave is in a different social position, a position which, unlike that of the monk, makes it impossible for him to annul his status.3l I should caution that what decides a persons autonomy is not the interval of time for which a person behaves (or fails to behave) in a self-managed way. As I noted earlier, the presence or absence of local or occurrent control does not grant or rob a person of a life of self-government.J2 Just as one who occasionally tells a lie can be an honest person, and one who is occasionally despondent can be a happy person, so, too, can a person be autonomous even though her life might include moments of nonautonomy. (For example, the person might be suffering from a severe bout of flu.) Equally, the monk (or the slave) fails to be self-governing though on occasion he might be in control of some aspect o f his life. What I am interested in is a global sense of autonomy-the idea of living a self-governed life, the idea of autonomy as a global condition of persons rather than a transient characteristic.= Let me summarize some of the ideas posed by the case studies. Autonomy requires more than upholding a persons values and conception of well-being. It requires more than the ability to formulate and execute a plan for life. It requires more than the ability to judge favorably of ones history. A n individual does not enjoy autonomy because he is admired by others any more than he lacks autonomy merely because he depends on others. Rather, autonomy is determined by what dependency and admiration entail for persons in their daily lives. A self-governingperson must be able to evaluate his reasons for action, and in a socially and psychologically unfet-

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tered way. Moreover, the choices he makes and the goals he sets as relevant to the direction of his life must emanate from a variety of acceptable alternatives, and the individual must be able to pursue these choices without undue social or psychological cost.
4 The Conditions for Personal Autonomy

The preceding scenarios indicate the need for the following conditions for autonomy In conjunction with one another they are sufficient to constitute autonomy. I recognize that persons can be more or less autonomous, and that not everyone need be autonomous to the same degree in order to count as autonomous. But these conditions must be satisfied, each to some significant degree, if a person is to be autonomous. Thus,there is a threshold for autonomy. The scope of this paper does not allow a satisfactory discussion of the threshold. However, it should be apparent that I view the satisfaction of the intemalists conditions required for autonomy vis a vis preferences to fall short of the threshold required for the autonomy of agents. Condition #I: Critical reflection First, autonomy requires that persons be able to engage in the psychological activity of critical reflection assumed by the intemalist. On my view, a person engages in critical reflection when she assumes the stance of a third party in appraising her motivations and actions, and the environment in which these develop. The individual assesses these as she would the motives, actions, and environment of another comparably developed human being. If, on the basis of this evaluation, the individual accepts her motivations as her own-if she identifies with them-then they are authentic. If she does not identify with them, then they may require correction or revision.34 Condition #2 :Pr oced tiral independence In order to be autonomous, an agent must not in fact be influenced or restricted by others in autonomy-constrainingways. That an individual happens to reach, via critical reflection, certain conclusions about the influences which affecther is not sufficient to determine whether she is autonomow. For a person can decide, mistakenly, that she has not been affected in ways that jeopardize autonomy,even where she has in fact been so affected. Hence the need for a condition of procedural independence (PI). For Dworkin, PI is satisfied when a persons critical faculties have not been influenced in ways that undermine the authenticity of the motivations that are appraised by those faculties. Dworkin takes PI to guarantee the integrity of a persons critical faculties, but he wants to remain neutral with respect to the kinds of situations and influences (external or internal) that are conducive to such integrity. However, I dont believe an account of PI can be neutral in this fashion. For if a person is to appraiseher desires under conditionsof PI, the environ-

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ment must be free of whatever variety of factors destroy the psychological integrity of the person, and disable the person in her relations with others. For example, the environment must be noncoerave and nonmanipulative. In general, PI incorporatescertain (ratheropen-ended)standardsof historical and social-relational legitimacy into the criteria for personal autonomy. I take these standards to characterize substantively the manner in which the autonomous individual relates to others in the world.

Condition #3: Access to a range of relevant options


The self-governing individual must have access to an adequate assortment of options." It is not enough that a person acknowledges the state of affairs in which she finds herself as one she would consent to even if she were lacking any other options, for the fact that a person finds her choice acceptable does not mean that an acceptable range of choices was hers. An assortmentis not adequateif a person can only choose nonautonomy.Thus the option to choose nonsubservience must be available to the agent. Nor is an assortment adequate if the agent's choices are all dictated by duress (economic, emotional, etc.) or by bodily needs. The social climate must be sensitive to the fact that humans are not brute creatures; they are individuals whose physical and emotional well-being depends on the ability to engage the body and the mind variously and creatively. Moreover, these options must be "real"-they must be options that a person can, in fact, hope to achieve, and they must be relevant to the development of her life.%

Condition #4: Social-relational properties


In order to be autonomous, a person who is in a society must find herself within a set of relations with others that enable her to pursue her goals in a context of social and psychological security. By this I mean that a person's socialbackground, where this includes social institutions,must be such that the following are true: a. The individual can defend herself against (or be granted defense against) psychological or physical assault when it is necessary to do so. b. The individual can defend herself against (or be granted defense against) attempts to deprive her of her civil and economic rights, where and when such attempts arise. c. The individual need not take responsibility for another's needs, expectations, and failings unless doing so is agreed upon or is reasonably expected of the individual in light of a particular f ~ n ~ t i ~ n ? ~ d. The individual can have, and can pursue, values, interests, needs, and goals different from those who have influence and authority over her, without interferenceor risk of reprisal sufficient to deter her in this pursuit. Although only the fourth condition of personal autonomy is explicitly labeled "social-relational," conditions 1- 3 can also be characterized as appealing to external circumstances and relations beyond the psychology of the agent as essential to self-government.All contribute to a conception of Self-governmentthat is distinct from an account of psychological freedom.%

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The claim of the extemalist is that a sensiblecharacterization of autonomy requires a certain environment external to the agent whose self-government is at issue. Together, the four conditions should be sufficient to guarantee that an individual is autonomous-that she is an independent participant in situations that pertain to the diredion of her life and to the projects she selects as important to her life, that she is not captive to social impediments, or to psychological and physical disabilities, of the sort that prevent her from forrriulating and realizing her goals, and that she is able to sustain herself without relying on the judgment and will of others. Notice that satisfaction of these conditions does not guarantee that a person will be autonomous at some point of time or with respect to some particular function. I might meet these conditions and so be an autonomous agent, but at the moment be too distraughtby some crisis to function in a self-directed way. The role of these conditions-in particular the latter two-is not to account for the means to securing control over ones immediate situation but to illustratewhat is absent in the lives of individuals like the slave, the subservient housewife, the prisoner, and the monk. As I have noted, personal autonomy is a stable property of an autonomous person rather than a transient characteristic.
5 Why Social Autonomy?

Part 1. The consequences ofan external analysis The externalist account that I advocate has the following consequences. First, the emphasis moves from the autonomy of preferences or values to the autonomy of persons. Though a persons psychological status affects that persons ability to be self-governing, actually being autonomous is at least partly a function of social relationships, and states of affairs, that obtain independently of these psychological properties. Second, personal autonomy cannot be determined solely by reference to a persons history, or to the history of his psychological states, even given a historical account that is sensitive to the persons socio-relational background. In general, intemalists who offer a historical account fail to discuss the conditions under which a suitable psychology must develop in terms that are clearly sensitive to the agents socio-relational environment. For example, the reflection-constraining factors and illegitimateinfluences which Christman employs to test the autonomy of persons offer no more than veiled references to the social relations that affect the agents psychological capacities,J9 It is likely, however, that the internalist has in mind certain social factors and influences when he speaks of appropriateand inappropriate influences. But even if he does, the only facts the internalist addresses are facts about a persons psychological history-facts pertaining to the development of the agents capacity to reflect upon, revise, and identify with her psychological states. I claim, however, that to the extent an agents history is important for her autonomy, much more than her psychological history

96 Marina A. L. Oshana

is at stake. For example, what ishistoricallyrelevant to the monks autonomy is that his monastic order permits him to leave when he sees fit. What is historically relevant to Harriets lack of autonomy is a pattern of social practices that have made her subject, rather than sovereign, of her life. But a deeper difficulty confronts any historical account of autonomy. This is that history is important for autonomy only to the extent that it results in a certain state of affairs in the present. The fact that a persons history offers an optimal breeding ground for autonomy, andso is a history happily free of autonomy-constraining factors, is relevant for personal autonomy only if that history yields the kind of social relations and psychological stability that are suitable for self-government. A persons history may contribute to an ability to live a self-determined life, but does not constitute autonomy. A third consequence of a social account is that the autonomous individual is regarded in a less atomistic light than might be expected from an intemalist theory of self-determination. Kants account of autonomy, for example, is atomistic in that the locus of autonomyis the will of the rational individual. What occurs external to this person in the larger social and pheBy contrast, my view of aunomenal environment is of no consequence.40 tonomy is, in a manner of speaking, heteronomous, since I make autonomy a characteristic that attaches to persons in light of their socio-relational standing. The fact that autonomy is a phenomenon that is best understood relationally does not mean that a person can only be autonomous in an interpersonal context. People can, of course, oversee their choices and direct their lives when distant from others; a Robinson Crusoe, for example, who has never interacted with others could be described as autonomous. But Crusoes autonomy would still be a matter of his not being enslaved, and the like. We call people autonomous (or refuse to do so) in part by examining their external circumstances.

Part 2. Theftinction ofa socialfocus The social relations in which a person finds himself contribute both causally and materially to the condition of autonomy.The intemalist would, I believe, concede that appropriate social relations contribute causally to autonomy.For, assuming that an individualdoes not suffer from whatever psychological infirmities might make autonomy difficult even in the most hospitable of social situations, a person in appropriatesocial circumstances is more likely to experience psychotogical autonomy. The principal psychological characteristics of self-determination-an ability to engage in rational, reflexive self-evaluation,and identificationwith ones motives-flourish when a person interacts with others in unimpeded ways. But since the intemalist views psychological freedom as sufficient for self-government,he is likely to see no other role than a causal one for social relations to play. Appropriate social conditions provide the background against which persons can implement whatever psychological abilities pre-

Personal Autonomy and Society 97 pare them for autonomy but the intemalist will contend that a person need not be in these social situations in order to meet the requisite psychological conditions and, thereby be autonomous. Our case studies, however, illustrate that satisfylng the psychological conditions simply will not be sufficient for self-government. We can speak of a persons desires as autonomous, or of a person as autonomous over her desires, even where the person is not autonomous (just as we can speak of a persons desires as satisfied even where the person is not). We refuse to count the slave et al. as self-governing because his external environment renders him incapable of functioning in a self-governing way. Not being subject to the dictates of others, or not being severely constrained,or not having an adequate range of options might only be causally necessary for meeting the internalistsconditions-for being what one might call a rational planner. But they are constitutively necessary for being autonomous. Thus in addition to whatever role social conditions play in bringing about a climate more conducive to self-government, an unconstraining social situation is partly constitutive of, or contributes materially to, self-government.

Part 3. The advantages of a social fociisfor airtonomy


The intemalist might raise the following objection. He might object that two separate notions of autonomy are at issue, and accuse me of having equivocated between them. For while the intemalist defines autonomy in terms of psychological conditions (by way of the criteria supplied in section two), he might say I am developing a different notion of autonomy. Perhaps he would concede that an extemalist analysis plays a useful role in certain contexts, but he will contend that the intemalists conception of autonomy is legitimate in its own right. It is not incoherent or improper to analyze autonomy in a Cartesian fashion. In support of his complaint, the intemalist may deny he shares my intuitions about self-government.Believing that personal autonomy consists in the integrity of the inner citadel, the internalist might contend that the person who is subjugated and controlled, either because of natural or artificial factors, may nevertheless be autonomous vis a vis a properly structured or welldeveloped set of preferences, or vis a vis the possession of some intrinsic dispositionfor autonomy.As a result, the intemalist will find his own criteria for autonomy quite adequate: autonomy is a condition that supervenes on psychological states, and the presence or absence of sociorelational conditions, if relevant at all, is useful only as a way of explaining what is required for the exercise of autonomy, understood as the realization of these psychological states. Perhaps there are differentnotions of self-government at play here. But I doubt it. I think the intemalist would accept the intuitions about self-government offered earlier, and that his objective, like that of the externalist, is to provide an account of autonomy that will capture these intuitions.I think these intuitions are sound, and that they show that what needs to be ana-

98 Marina A. L. Oshana

lyzed is a condition that is more plausibly called "self-government" than is any purely psychological state. Moreover, to the extent the case studies show autonomy to be lacking in the lives of certain agents, we can say that autonomy requires control over one's external situation, a viable range of options for choice, and the absence of severe constraint. While the internalist disregards (or at best, sidesteps) these consequences, the externalist confronts them. Thus the philosophical work a socio-relational theory of self-determination can do gives it a theoretical advantage over a more psychologistic approach. Three benefits, in particular, attend such an approach. One advantage is that such an account recognizes our status as social creatures. Isaiah Berlin, commenting on the desire persons have for social recognition and fraternity, says that "my independent self is not something which I can detach from my relationship with others, or from those attributes of myself which consist in their attitude towards me.''41 And Joel Feinberg notes that "to be a human being is to be part o f a community,... to take one's place in an already functioning group. W e come to awareness of ourselves as part of an ongoing social process...defined by reciprocal bonds of obligation, c o m o n traditions, and instituti~ns."~~ One might object that an account of autonomy such as I offer makes autonomy possible only within a rather limited range of socialcircumstances. As a result, my account might be deemed too restrictive to be of great use. Whatever the case, I believe the conception of autonomy I describe is the most plausible. Notice, too, that autonomy may be highly valued even in cultures that allow only a privileged few to be autonomous. The second benefit is that, while an intemalist account might be adequate to answer certain questions pertinent to our status as responsible agents, a social conception of autonomy is of greater service when addressing questions about our status as moral agents generally understood. This is because morality, like autonomy, is a phenomenon of social application and importance. "Morally" laden events, such as violations of personal autonomy, protection against such violations, and punishments for violations,depend on a person's social standing relative to others. And it seem correct that being morally autonomous, or autonomous with regard to reviewing and adopting a system of moral norms, requires that a person first be self-goveming in the sense I have explained. The third advantage is that a socio-relational account can easily explain how persons might be self-goveming even while manifesting "external" or "communal" social virtues that might appear to reduce autonomy. These might include allegiance to others, obedience to bodies of authority, and a commitmentto notions of correctnessand objectivity in the moral, epistemic, and other standards that govern conduct and reasoning. Though an intemalist account may explain how autonomy is possible in these circumstances, a social theory explains this in a natural way. Because being autonomous means, in typical cases, that a person is in a certain kind of social network, moral and other.socia1 virtues are a natural accompaniment of

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autonomy and can easily be components in the lives of autonomous persons. In conclusion, I believe that a more promising approach to personal autunomy than intemalist theories supply emerges when autonomy is cast in a socio-relationalor externalperspedive. An externalist account is concerned with many of the problems and issues that preoccupy internalist approaches. But I depart from intemalist theories in my conviction that the primary constituents of self-government are social in nature.

Earlier versions ofthis paper have been presented at the University ofCalif0mia, Davis, Temple University, and CaliforniaState University, Sun Bernardino. Thanks are due to David Copp, John Martin Fischer, Ishtiyaque Haji, Tony Roy,Richard Wollheim, and various refereesfor their comments.
Notes
Others who analyze autonomy in a similarly social light are Lawrence Haworth in Autonomy: An Essay in Philosophical Psychology and Ethics, 1986 (New Haven: Yale University Press), and Diana Meyers, in Self, Society, and Personal Choice, 1989 (New York Columbia University Press). The truth of this claim need not entail the denial of physical or psychological determinism. An adult may have no more metaphysical control over the world than does a child, but it makes sense to say that an adult is in control of her actions, and has certain rights of sovereignty,where a child is not, and does not. While being in control of ones choices suggests that a person is able to alter her present way of life, if she so chooses, this ability need not entail the denial of determinism a s long as one can be determined in such a way as to make this ability possible. Harry Frankfurt argues for the weak view in Coercion and Moral Responsibility,1973, in Ted Honderich, ed., Essays on Freedom of Action, 63-86 (London:Routledge & Kegan Paul), and in his Three Concepts of Free Action, 2, 1975, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Supp. Vol. 40,113-25. Along these lines, Irving Thalberg discusses prudent behavior under situations of coercion in Hierarchical Analyses of Unfree Action, 1978, Canadian Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 8, No. 2. Dworkin, Acting Freely, 1970, Nous, Vol. 9: 367-83. Dworkin, The Concept of Autonomy, in Science and Ethics, ed.Rudolph Haller (Rodopi Press, 1981). Reprinted in The Inner Citadel, ed. John Christman (New York Oxford University Press, 1989).Al1references are to this text. Dworkin develops his view inThe Theory and Practiceof Autonomy (New York CambridgeUniversity Press, 1988).Frankfurt, too, employs the hierarchical theory, but does so in an effort to discover the kind of freedom relevant for moral responsibility. Frankfurts view may be that these varieties of freedom-viz., acting freely, choosing freely, and willing freely-are adequate for autonomy. (See his Identification and Wholeheartedness, in The Importance of What We Care About [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 19881, pp.170-71.) And Dworkins employment of the hierarchical apparatus to generate a theory of autonomy also suggests that similar use of this tool could have been made by Frankfurt. But Frankfurts claim is that the variety of freedom required for responsibility need not include the ability to do otherwise, and in this respect his account differs fmm my account, and Dworkins account, of personal autonomy. Dworkin, 1989, p.61. Dworkins account of autonomy and his employment of the condition of procedural independence are ihtemalist, in the sense I have defined. Although procedural independence requires that the environment external to the agent be free of factors that impair the agents ability to critically appraise her lower-order reasons for

100 Marina A. L. Oshana


acting, Dworkin's concern is only with the effect such external phenomena have upon the psychology of the agent. Nothing about the external environment or its relation to the individual matters in itself. It does not matter, for example, whether the individual has been coerced or manipulated. What matters is that the individual has not been affected in a way that undermines her critical and reflective hdties.Thus, as Dworkin understands it, procedural independence only requires that a person's psychological abilities not be undermined. His account of autonomy remains intemalist, the condition of procedural independence notwithstanding. Dworkin, 1988, p. 15. Dworkin, 1988, pp. 20 and 108. Lawrence Haworth raises problems with the capacity condition in "Dworkin on Autonomy," Ethics 102 (Oct., 1991), 129-39. lo Watson, "Free Agency," Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 72, No. 8,1975. l1 Christman, 1989, pp. 5-6. Also see his "Autonomy: A Defense of the Split-Level Self," 1987, Southern Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 25, No. 3,281-93, and "Autonomy and Personal History," 1991, Canadian Joumal of Philosophy, Vol. 20, No. 1,l-24. l2 As with Dworkin's condition of procedural independence, Christman's devetopmental or "historical" criteria for individual self-government may seem external in character. But I take Christman's theories to be internalist since he views the psychological standing of the individual as decisive for personal autonomy. l 3 In addition to the structural and historical criteria that internalists provide, dispositional considerations also figure importantly for autonomy. It matters, f o r example, whether the individual is docile and easily swayed by others, or is strong-minded and confident. r e a l ' selves; Both Charles Taylor and Gerald Dworkin employ the ideas of "true" and ' various challenges to these notions have been raised by Isaiah Berlin, Marilyn Friedman, and Susan Wolf. l5 Joseph Raz discussessuch cases at pp. 3W91, The Morality of Freedom (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986). I h Both of these persons differ from the individual who believes that a life of service to others is the most fulfilling. This individual may value other-regarding behavior more highly than he does behavior founded on self-interest,but may still value his autonomy and view it as compatible with service to others. I 7 A s Isaiah Berlin notes, consenting to a loss of liberty does not negate or reverse that loss: "If I consent to be oppressed, or acquiesce in my condition with detachment or irony, am I the less oppressed? If I sell myself into slavery, am I the less a slave? If I commit suicide, am I the less dead because I have taken my own life freely?" Berlin, "Two Concepts of Liberty," in Four Essayson Liberty (Oxford:Oxford UniversityPress, 1969), p.164. In The slave could be self-governingwith respect to any activitiesor relations in his life over which he retained control-in his status as spouse, or sibling, or parent, for example. But being autonomous in certain activities or with respect to certain roles-being ',locally" autonomousdoes not make the slave an autonomous person, or one who lives a "globally" autonomous life. I also grant that autonomy can be had in degrees, to the extent that the conditions for autonomy are met. section four, bdow, addresses this point. Along this line, Alfred Mele notes that one who autonomously chooses a particular state might fail to be autonomous with respect to remaining in that state; an appropriately autonomous history of choice might not be adequate for the continued or occurrent condition of autonomy.See his "History and Personal Autonomy" CanadianJournal of Philosophy 23 (June 1993), 271-80. 0 2 . Jeremy Waldron, The Right to Private Property (Oxford:Clarendon Press, 1988), p. 3 Though Waldron is speaking of what ought to characterize human involvement in projects of self-assertionupon nature, he takes autonomy to involve self-assertion. Christman (1987) denies autonomy to the slave on the grounds that the slave does suffer from an unsuitable psychological history. I pursue my disagreement with Christman in "Autonomy Naturalized," Midwest Studies in Philosophy, Vol. XIX (1994), 7694. Dworkin, "Paternalism: Some Second Thoughts," p.111, in Rolf Sartorius, ed., Paternal-

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ism, 1983(Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press), pp.105-11. William Stymn, Sophieis Choice, 1979. Thomas Hill, Servility and Self-Respect,in Autonomy and Self-Respect, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), p.15. 25As Diana Meyers notes, to give credence to such desires as those befitting an autonomous person would be to succumb to the undesirable state of affairs from which they originate. See her Self, Society, and Personal Choice for related discussion. 2h Thus I disagree with those who argue that Harriet fails to be autonomous because she has desires that she would not really want were she in full possession of her faculties, and f an absence of critically reflective who take the absence of such desires as evidence o activity or of a healthy psychology. (Susan Wolf and Marilyn Friedman offer arguments abng these lines. See Wolf, Sanityand the Metaphysics of Responsibility, in Schwman, 1987. Friedmans view is found in her Autonomyand the Split-LevelSelf, 1986,Southern Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 24, No. 1.) In my view, rationality and the activity of critically evaluating ones motives may lead a person to a variety of preferences-some odious, others admirable-with no promise other than that these preferencesare formed in a clear-headed fashion. 27 For example, suppose that Harriets relationship with her spouse, though congenial, is that of an unequal partner. She makes none of the important financial decisions, she does not decide when or where they shall vacation, or where they shall live, and so on. Nor, for that matter, do they guarantee that a person will become autonomous. The person who respects himself may be better equipped than others to rise above adverse conditions, but transcending adverse conditions is not sufficient for autonomy The concentration camp internee might find that his self-respect remains intact to the extent that he spiritually triumphs over atrociously inhumane conditions. Yet it seems absurd to claim that this individual is autonomous. A Hill, 1991, p.6. Hill comments that the duty to avoid servility is a duty to take a certain 7 ) .This stance towards others, and hence would be inappropriate if isolated (ibid., p. 1 suggests that self-respect, the converse of servility, is essentially a relational phenomenon, and so cannot merely be a matter of a persons attitude toward herself. 3o Dissolving the contract may, of course, carry a penalty sufficiently burdensome to make autonomy difficult, if not impossible. And of course, what the contract requires of the individual will be important for assessments of autonomy. Similarly,consider Ulysses request that his crew physically restrain him when their journey brings them in proximity to the Sirenssongs. While he is bound and restrained, his autonomy is curtailed, for then he lacks control of his fate (and also, of course, command of the ship and crew). But Ulysses circumstancediffers from that of the consenting slave (and more closely approaches that of the monk) in the following fashion. He is not relinquishing his right to determine his course of life; none of his considered options for the future are closed to him since his relations with his crew members remain such that he will resume control at the agreed upon moment. 32 At note 19. Explaining the distinction between global and local is problematic, and I will not attempt to resolve the problem here. Asimilar distinctionbetween theglobal and the local raises problems for virtue theory; one must distinguish the local sense of honesty (telling the truth at some time) from the disposition, qua trait of character, to tell the truth, i.e., to be an honest person. %Alongthese lines, Waldron (1989, p.305) remarks that autonomy involves the ability to stand back from ones occurrent desires, to determine in some w a y - o n the basis of a thought-out conception of the good-which desires and preferences one wants to be motivated by....With this done, choice, decision, and action are a matter of responding to values and to desires that have been given this reflective precedence.... Of course, we cannot subject all of our motives to such evaluation in order to count as autonomous. Only those choicesand actions significant for the direction of a persons life call for critical reflection. Raz (1986, pp.373-78) formulates this condition, but in stronger terms than I think are necessary. He states that, in order to be autonomous and live autonomously, a person

102 Marina A. L. Oshana


must face a range of options that "enable him to sustain throughout his life activities which, taken together, exercise all the capacities human beings have an innate drive to exercise, as well as [have the option] to decline to develop any of them." )6 A satisfactory analysis of this condition (in particular, of the notions of an option and of being able to achieve options) is not possible in t h i spaper. I am relying on the intuition that we can speak meaningfully about having options for action, even though we may be undecided about the truth of determinismand of the Principleof Alternate Possibilities. Clearly, a variety of alternativesof every sort is not necessary for autonomy. At the very least, I am restricted in my choices by the fact that I suffer from certain physical, intellectual,geographic, and financiallimitations, as well as by the fact that I share this planet with others to whom I must accord certain courtesies. But none of this need limit my autonomy. 37 A parent, for example, is responsible for fulfilling the needs of his children; an attorney is expected to serve the needs of her client. 38 I wish to thank Richmond Campbell for his suggestion that I emphasize the external nature of the first three conditions. In fact, Christman shuns social criteria for autonomy where such criteria incorporate external elements of the sort sufficient to compromise self-government.Christman arf self-government that is the motivating congues that, in order "to capture the idea o cept behind autonomy," the rationality of an autonomous agent must be defined in terms of a set of "subjective" criteria internal to the agent. H i s account is thus doubly internalist;no externalcriteria are allowed for rationality, and agent autonomy turns on the psychological character of the individual. See Christman (1991), notes 18 and 23, pp.9 and 14,respectively. * Berlin remarks that, while "Kant's free man needs no public recognition for his inner freedom," the need humans have for recognition within their social sphere "is bound up wholly with the relation that [they]have with others....I feel myself to be somebody or nobody in terms of my position and function in the social whole; this is the most 'heteronomous' condition imaginable." See his 'Two Concepts of Liberty", p.156, note 1. 41 Berlin, 1969, p. 156, my emphasis. 42 Joel Feinberg, Harm To Self, Vol. 3 of The Moral Limits of Criminal Law (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986), pp. 46-47. See also Raz, 1986, p. 394.