This course will explore the concept of personal autonomy, and the related concepts of freedom, authenticity, integrity and understanding. Clearly autonomy is more than just being free to do what one desires or act on what one believes. For what if I desire harmful things like drugs or trivial things like the latest mobile phone? What if my sexist beliefs were cultivated in me by a particular family or social upbringing? One answer would be to say that we are autonomous insofar as we critically reflect on and endorse our desires, beliefs and values. But surely an unreflective person can still be autonomous, and lead a meaningful life? Surely some values, such as those to do with loving and trusting another person, are undermined by too much reflective scrutiny?
All readings will be in English. Assessment will comprise two essays, each of 1500 words.