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Personal autonomy & its aesthetic preconditions: essays on aesthetic understanding & freedom.

Verdonschot, C P (2020) Personal autonomy & its aesthetic preconditions: essays on aesthetic understanding & freedom. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

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Abstract

Becoming autonomous is a process of coming to realise oneself in shared, socio-historical practices. There can be no self before these practices, but their existence is no guarantee for selfhood either: one can be heteronomous through one's successful participation in various practices if that participation is not a genuine expression of one's own personhood. This means that the sheer capability to participate in the practices in which one finds oneself is not sufficient for personal autonomy. Something else is required before the self is realised in shared, socio-historical practices. How can this be, if as we said, there can be no self before these practices? By what principle do we decide whether a particular expression of selfhood in a socio-historical practice is genuine? If there can only be a self within socio-historical practices, it stands to reason that we can find it only there. If, however, one's participation cannot be considered in advance as a genuine expression of oneself, what we may expect to find is perhaps only a fragment, a hint of autonomy always already entangled in heteronomous elements, or things that would be different if one could have so chosen. To come to an understanding of oneself, then, will require more than just a handle on one's existence in various practices. It will require the capacity to see one's participation in this socio-historically determined practice as a fragment of a whole, a particular instance of something more general which points beyond our present participation in these particular, socio-historically determined practices towards a horizon of possibility that recedes beyond our grasp whenever we try to make definitive sense out of a possibility for agency.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: autonomy; aesthetics; self-understanding
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BH Aesthetics
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BJ Ethics
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities > Philosophy and Art History, School of
Depositing User: Clinton Verdonschot
Date Deposited: 08 Dec 2020 10:31
Last Modified: 08 Dec 2020 10:31
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/29262

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