Autonomy, Gender, Politics by Marilyn Friedman

By Marilyn Friedman

Girls have traditionally been avoided from dwelling autonomously by means of systematic injustice, subordination, and oppression. The lingering results of those practices have triggered many feminists to view autonomy with suspicion. right here, Marilyn Friedman defends the correct of feminist autonomy. In her eyes, habit is self sustaining if it accords with the desires, cares, values, or commitments that the actor has reaffirmed and is ready to maintain within the face of competition. by way of her account, autonomy is socially grounded but additionally individualizing and infrequently socially disruptive, features that may be finally valuable for girls. Friedman applies the concept that of autonomy to domain names of unique curiosity to girls. She defends the significance of autonomy in romantic love, considers how social associations should still reply to ladies who decide to stay in abusive relationships, and argues that liberal societies should still tolerate minority cultural practices that violate women's rights as long as the ladies in query have selected autonomously to dwell in accordance with these practices.

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Oppression may damage someone’s capacity to care about what is worth caring about and it may deform the nature of a person’s concern for herself. She may grow to value or seek the very persons or circumstances that keep her in oppressive conditions. ”22 In that case, acting according to what someone sincerely cares about may nevertheless undermine her long-term capacity to continue acting according to what she cares about. This is one reason why some autonomy theorists call for a “substantive” account of autonomy, an account that stipulates limits on what a person may care about, as a condition for achieving autonomy.

On a content-neutral view, that respect would be owed more generally to the choices made by anyone with the competency to choose and act self-reflectively; what she chose would not matter. Both content-neutral and substantive views can direct us to respect people’s actual choices as autonomous unless positive evidence shows they are not. For a content-neutral account, however, the sort of positive evidence that might show this is more limited than it is on a substantive account. The substance of what someone chooses is never sufficient by itself to entail that someone has not chosen autonomously.

The notion of autonomy as based on self-reflection is easily amenable to such an understanding. 16 First, autonomous persons are differentiated selves with identities and commitments. They are products of socialization by other selves into communities of interacting selves within which they are differentiated as distinct particular persons. Second, autonomous persons must have the capacities for autonomy. These capacities include abilities to understand one’s own wants and commitments to at least some degree, to recognize alternative options for choice, to act appropriately to achieve what one wants under the circumstances one faces, and to persist in those aims in the face of at least minimal difficulty.

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