Autonomy for Changing Selves

In Ben Colburn (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Autonomy. London: Routledge (2023)
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Our values change. What we value, want, desire, prefer, and how much; for nearly everyone, these will be different at different times in their life. These changes can be gradual or abrupt; they can be long-lasting or short-lived; and they can be induced by forces outside yourself or they can come from within or they can have no specific catalyst at all. Such preference change raises a number of questions for our theorising about rational choice, and these have been discussed at length. In §2 and §3, I’ll outline two of these questions along with some of the putative solutions that have been proposed. But preference change also raises questions for our theorising about autonomy, and these have hardly been considered at all. In §4, I’ll outline three problems for personal autonomy; and in §5, I’ll outline one problem for political autonomy. In §6, I conclude.

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Richard Pettigrew
University of Bristol


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