Autonomy as an Educational Ideal I

  • R. F. Dearden


The concept of autonomy seems first to have been formed and applied in a political rather than in an ethical or educational context. According to Pohlenz, that context was in fact the wars fought by the Greek cities to maintain their independence from Persia.1 But already in the Platonic dialogues Socrates can be seen applying the concept, if not the word, to the individual person. If the Crito is taken as representative of this conceptual extension, then strong political overtones are still retained through Socrates’s equation of part of the nomos in autonomy with the city’s own ‘laws and institutions’ as a ‘man’s most precious possessions’.2


Onal Ideal Independent Judgement Greek City Lonely Crowd Educational Ideal 
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© Royal Institute of Philosophy 1975

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  • R. F. Dearden

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