Title page for ETD etd-11082006-151644

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Plauche, Geoffrey Allan
Author's Email Address gplauc1@lsu.edu
URN etd-11082006-151644
Title Aristotelian-Liberal Autonomy
Degree Master of Arts (M.A.)
Department Philosophy & Religious Studies
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Ian Crystal Committee Chair
Cecil L. Eubanks Committee Member
Gregory Schufreider Committee Member
  • libertarian
  • free will
  • virtue
  • desires
  • human flourishing
  • well-being
  • eudaimonia
  • James Taylor
  • Joel Feinberg
  • Gerald Dworkin
Date of Defense 2006-11-02
Availability unrestricted
Written in the burgeoning tradition of Aristotelian liberalism, my thesis seeks to enrich this tradition by developing a liberal theory of autonomy based on a broadly Aristotelian foundation. Chapter One summarizes and critiques the major contemporary theories of autonomy developed by Kant and analytic philosophers. Chapter Two explicates the Aristotelian conception of autonomy, drawing on recent work by Fred Miller and Roderick Long. Aristotle is chided for not being liberal enough and so Chapter Three develops an Aristotelian-liberal theory of autonomy based in part on recent work by Douglas Rasmussen, Douglas Den Uyl and Roderick Long. Global and local individual autonomy are distinguished, with global autonomy being the exercise of one's rational faculty (or self-direction) and local autonomy relating to particular desires, preferences, actions, and so forth. Local autonomy is further conceived as having three fundamental dimensions: political, social, and personal. Political autonomy equates with the traditional classical liberal/libertarian concept of liberty, and is normatively protected by the right to liberty. Social autonomy involves freedom from social influences other than the threat or use of physical force that lead a person to deviate from his telos. Personal autonomy involves internal freedom from deviant desires, severe addiction to drugs, and so forth that lead a person to deviate from his telos. Personal and social autonomy cannot be promoted at the systematic expense of political autonomy. Aristotelian liberalism, and an Aristotelian-liberal theory of autonomy, promise to transcend the liberal/communitarian debate. An Aristotelian-liberal theory of autonomy avoids the Enlightenment pitfalls that plague Kantian and analytic theories of autonomy.
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