Autonomy as an Educational Ideal II

  • Elizabeth Telfer


Dr Dearden’s paper can be summarised in seven propositions: (i) Historically, even in the thought of Sartre, the concept of autonomy has involved, not only independent activity of the self, but also recognition of principles: (ii) Spontaneity, in the sense of uncaused choice, is not a necessary condition of autonomy, because we can explain how people can be made autonomous: (iii) The essence of autonomy is forming one’s own independent judgement on the basis of criteria which are themselves made subject to continous reassessment: (iv) Freedom, in the sense of ‘absence of restraints’, is neither necessary nor sufficient for the existence of autonomy, though it is necessary for its exercise: (y) Freedom is not a necessary condition for the development of autonomy: (vi) Autonomy can be seen as having an intrinsic value: (vii) It varies in value according to the sphere in which it is exercised, and hence cannot be sufficient as a specification of an educational ideal, although it is necessary.


Moral Judgement Autonomous Action Moral Conviction Overt Action Onal Ideal 


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© Royal Institute of Philosophy 1975

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  • Elizabeth Telfer

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