Autonomy, Authority and Moral Responsibility

  • Thomas May

Part of the Law and Philosophy Library book series (LAPS, volume 33)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-viii
  2. Introduction

    1. Thomas May
      Pages 1-8
  3. Autonomy

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 9-9
    2. Thomas May
      Pages 11-31
    3. Thomas May
      Pages 33-53
    4. Thomas May
      Pages 55-73
    5. Thomas May
      Pages 75-96
  4. Authority

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 97-105
    2. Thomas May
      Pages 107-123
    3. Thomas May
      Pages 125-147
    4. Thomas May
      Pages 149-174
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 175-192

About this book


Questions about the relationship between autonomy and authority are raised in nearly every area of moral philosophy. Although the most ob­ vious of these is political philosophy (especially the philosophy of law), the issues surrounding this relationship are by no means confined to this area. Indeed, as we shall see as this work progresses, the issues raised are central to moral psychology, religion, professional ethics, medical ethics, and the nature of moral systems generally. Although the title of this work is Autonomy. Authority and Moral Responsibility. we shall be concerned with the more general question about the relationship between autonomy (or self-direction) and exter­ nal influences, which I take to be any guide to behavior whose presence, content or substance is dependent upon something beyond the control of the agent. Something is beyond the control of the agent if the agent cannot determine whether or not it is present, what its content consists of, or whether or not (or in what way) it influences her. These "external" influences may include (but are not necessarily limited to) religious con­ victions (which guide behavior according to a doctrine whose content is established independently of the agent); moral obligations (which re­ quire action in accordance with some moral theory); and desires for ob­ jects or states of affairs whose presence (or absence) is beyond the con­ trol of the agent. Of course, external influences may also include the requirements of authority or law.


Immanuel Kant ethics issue morality philosophy political philosophy responsibility

Authors and affiliations

  • Thomas May
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Clinical Ethics CenterMemorial Medical CenterSpringfieldUSA
  2. 2.Department of Medical HumanitiesSouthern Illinois University, School of MedicineSpringfieldUSA

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 1998
  • Publisher Name Springer, Dordrecht
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Print ISBN 978-90-481-4949-0
  • Online ISBN 978-94-015-9030-3
  • Series Print ISSN 1572-4395
  • Buy this book on publisher's site
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