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Agency and Autonomy in Kant's Moral TheorySelected Essays$
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Andrews Reath

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199288830

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2006

DOI: 10.1093/0199288836.001.0001

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Legislating for a Realm of Ends: The Social Dimension of Autonomy

Legislating for a Realm of Ends: The Social Dimension of Autonomy

(p.173) 6 Legislating for a Realm of Ends: The Social Dimension of Autonomy
Agency and Autonomy in Kant's Moral Theory

Andrews Reath (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter uses the connection between Kant's conception of autonomy and his concept of a realm of ends to explore a number of issues about the nature of autonomy. It begins by developing some general observations about how freedom and autonomy may be related to governance by rules and standards. We tend to think that rules restrict free activity, but there are also rules that make meaningful and creative activities possible. Attention to the different functions that rules serve, specifically to their constitutive role, supplies another key element in dissolving the conflict between autonomy and governance by rules. The chapter then considers instances where the freedom to engage in certain activities and governance by rules are not in tension. It introduces rules with a special (non-restrictive) function, but there is no thought that these rules are self-imposed or self-chosen. This framework is applied to Kant's conception of the autonomy of the moral agent.

Keywords:   autonomy, realm of ends, rational agents, sovereignty, moral agent

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