When are choices, actions, and consent based on adaptive preferences nonautonomous?


Adaptive preferences give rise to puzzles in ethics, political philosophy, decision theory, and the theory of action. Like our other preferences, adaptive preferences lead us to make choices, take action, and give consent. In 'False Consciousness for Liberals', recently published in The Philosophical Review, David Enoch (2020) proposes a criterion by which to identify when these choices, actions, and acts of consent are less than fully autonomous; that is, when they suffer from what Natalie Stoljar (2014) calls an 'autonomy deficit'. According to Enoch, such actions are not protected in the usual way against interference by others; there is not the same prohibition against trying to prevent someone from acting in a particular way when that action is motivated by such adaptive preferences and is an attempt to satisfy them. In this note, I raise two concerns about Enoch's criterion.

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Richard Pettigrew
University of Bristol


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