Reflections on personal autonomy
One of the most intimate and problematic issues in philosophy is the matter of personal autonomy. It is intimate because most people care intensely about whether their decisions and way of life are autonomously chosen and lived. The issue of personal autonomy is problematic because the barriers to autonomous action can be subtle and unnoticeable. It is the thesis of this paper to discuss the nature of personal autonomy by (1) clarifying the concept of autonomy, (2) discussing the way in which autonomy can be realized, (3) presenting the views of five philosophers (Plato, Sartre, Hume, Mill, and Kant) in order to understand how one's understanding of human nature will affect one's understanding of personal autonomy, and lastly (4) to give reasons why we care about personal autonomy. The resources utilized in the research of this paper were the relevant books addressing the issue of personal autonomy from The American University and consortium libraries.