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Natural Autonomy, Dual Virtue, and Yin-Yang

Abstract

Feminists have argued that autonomous thought and decision-making are attained through respectful parenting and are blighted or destroyed when the parenting is disrespectful or abusive. However, it can be argued that young children are already capable of thinking and deciding things for themselves, so when sexist or abusive parenting leads to an adult incapable of such autonomy, the parenting or other social influences have destroyed what was originally there. It turns out, too, that the thinking and deciding sides of autonomy are actually inseparable aspects of one and the same personal trait/virtue, and it can be shown that the other major human virtues—and human rationality as a whole—also have this dual aspect. We can go on to see that this duality is best interpreted in terms of the indissoluble complementarity of yin 陰 and yang 陽.

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References

  1. Gilligan, Carol. 1982. In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women’s Development. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

  2. MacKenzie, Catriona, and Natalie Stoljar, eds. 2000. Relational Autonomy: Feminist Perspectives on Autonomy, Agency, and the Social Self. New York: Oxford University Press.

  3. Slote, Michael. 2018a. The Philosophy of Yin and Yang. Beijing: Commercial Press.

  4. ______. 2018b. “Yin-Yang and the Heart-Mind.” Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 17.1: 1–11.

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Correspondence to Michael Slote.

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Slote, M. Natural Autonomy, Dual Virtue, and Yin-Yang. Dao (2020) doi:10.1007/s11712-019-09700-4

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Keywords

  • Autonomy
  • Complementarity
  • Duality
  • Natural virtue
  • Rationality
  • Yin-Yang 陰陽