Autonomy, Gender, Politics (Studies in Feminist Philosophy) by Marilyn Friedman

By Marilyn Friedman

Girls have traditionally been avoided from dwelling autonomously by way of systematic injustice, subordination, and oppression. The lingering results of those practices have brought on many feminists to view autonomy with suspicion. the following, Marilyn Friedman defends definitely the right of feminist autonomy. In her eyes, habit is independent if it accords with the wishes, cares, values, or commitments that the actor has reaffirmed and is ready to maintain within the face of competition. by means of her account, autonomy is socially grounded but additionally individualizing and infrequently socially disruptive, characteristics that may be finally beneficial for girls. Friedman applies the concept that of autonomy to domain names of designated curiosity to ladies. She defends the significance of autonomy in romantic love, considers how social associations may still reply to girls who decide to stay in abusive relationships, and argues that liberal societies may still tolerate minority cultural practices that violate women's rights as long as the ladies in query have selected autonomously to dwell based on these practices.

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Such metalevel self-reflections would certainly be consistent with being autonomous. There is, however, no reason to require them, even on a substantive account. They are implausibly cumbersome as reconstructions of what people ordinarily care about. More important, they are more than is needed for someone to care explicitly about her own autonomy and make choices that accord with that concern. Thus a second reason in favor of a content-neutral conception of autonomy is that content-neutral autonomy turns out to be what even a substantive account of autonomy should sensibly hold that people need to care about.

9 Dennett thus uses a conception of individualized, biological, nonintentional agency to explain away the seeming contradictoriness of his account of how “we” create “our” selves. His explanatory framework invokes rudimentary agents, selfless biological protoagents correlating roughly one to one with each of “us,” to explain the origins of the uses of language that construct us as fully fashioned fictional centers of gravity. Judith Butler utilizes a linguistic strategy to dispel the self-contradictory aura that surrounds her story of the discursive construction of selves.

We must give up one or the other. This would be true if the substantive notion of autonomy underlying the feminist intuition were inflexible and unyielding. There may, however, be a middle ground. By construing both content-neutral and substantive autonomy as forms of autonomy but treating substantive autonomy as embodying a greater degree of autonomy than content-neutral autonomy, we may be able to retain a content-neutral account of autonomy while still giving the feminist intuition important weight.

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