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August 15, James Stacey Taylor ed. Reviewed by Manuel Vargas, University of San Francisco I once heard a colleague opine that we would be better off if there were a year moratorium on philosophers using the word 'autonomy'.
He went on to argue that we could get along just fine without the word, and that a good number of confusions would be dispelled along the way. This collection of new papers goes a long way toward responding to this challenge in ways that both undercut and vindicate aspects of this complaint.
Individual chapters are authored by an all-star cast of philosophers working on issues of autonomy, agency, and medical ethics.
The volume also contains a helpful introduction by the editor, James Stacey Taylor, which ably surveys many of the issues and motivations that have moved the literature over the past thirty years. The book is divided into three parts: As is often the case, these divisions are at best rough guides to the contents of each part; many essays could be placed in two or even any part of the book.
There are many strengths of this volume. Its principal virtue is that it provides a detailed snapshot of contemporary philosophical work done on autonomy. It balances useful summaries or updates of the work of well-known figures with chapters that aim to advance ongoing debates.
The volume clearly achieves what it sets out to do: The work also succeeds at providing a sense of the vibrancy of the literature, as there is substantial interaction among at least subsets of the authors, with several papers containing replies or discussions of the work of other authors in the volume, and in at least two cases, to other essays in the volume.
Finally, the editor does an admirable job of providing a compelling narrative to the recent history of the philosophical work on autonomy. It is hard to imagine a more useful guide to the issues that have developed since John Christman's landmark collection of essays on autonomy.
The diversity of essays in the volume makes a perhaps inadvertently compelling case that a number of distinct -- and at best loosely-related -- conversations share the same subject matter only in name.
Autonomy is variously characterized as: Many, but not all, of these characterizations can be rendered consistent with one another. This is, of course, not an objection to the work of any particular author or even the volume itself. It is only to observe that if autonomy is one thing it is protean.
The fluidity of the concept leaks out in the introduction and throughout various subsequent chapters. For example, Taylor rightly notes that one should resist the temptation to collapse discussions of autonomy and of moral responsibility Nevertheless, Taylor and others in this volume sometimes have difficulty respecting this constraint, especially when it comes to Harry Frankfurt's enormously influential work.
Throughout the volume, Frankfurt's work on agency especially the account offered in "Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person"  is treated as perhaps the locus classicus of autonomy theories. While it is true that there are aspects of Frankfurt's work, especially his later work, that suggest that he is less interested in free will and moral responsibility than he is in some notion of self-regulated agency, it is hardly obvious that the Frankfurt of "Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person" was very much concerned with autonomy.
Indeed, as far as I can tell, the word 'autonomy' does not even appear in his early work, in contrast to Gerald Dworkin's work, which made use of many similar ideas but was explicitly concerned with autonomy.
Irrespective of Frankfurt's initial aims, it is clear that his work has had a profound impact on contemporary theorizing about autonomy. Frankfurt is the most commonly indexed entry in the volume; citations to him and his work outstrip citations to Aristotle, Kant, Michael Bratman, Christine Korsgaard, Al Mele, J.
David Velleman, and Susan Wolf combined. Clearly, a good deal of the work in this volume is operating with Frankfurt as part of the background of concerns that animate various proposals about autonomy. So, if we were to substitute another term for one strand of the autonomy literature, "Frankfurt studies" might be an entirely appropriate candidate.
There are other threads of discussion less centrally indebted or responsive to Frankfurt's work -- which is not to say that Frankfurt's influence is altogether absent in them. For example there are accounts of autonomy tied to political philosophy Benson, Christman and to bioethics Arpaly, Beauchamp, and May.
These discussions each seem to reflect a distinctive set of concerns, less abstract in their motivation than the Frankfurt-style literature and more clearly practical in their theoretical aims.
Since these discussions each seem somewhat independent from one another, we might suppose that in fact there are at least three principal subject matters with some claim to autonomy as a description or title. It might therefore be useful to distinguish between Agential Autonomy of which the Frankfurt-responsive work is most prominentIndividual Political Autonomy or any notion of autonomy explicitly tied to social and political aimsand Minimal Medical Autonomy notions of autonomy relevant to competence in medical decision making.
There are, plausibly, interesting connections between these notions. Distinguishing them, however, might make it clearer that the various autonomy literatures are not necessarily closely related in their content, conceptual roles, or theoretical aims.
Detailed discussions of the individual chapters of this volume are beyond the scope of this review, but it may be useful to remark on some of the more frequently recurring themes and issues in the volume.Nov 30, · A Wandering Mind Is an Unhappy Mind Matthew A.
Killingsworth* and Daniel T. Gilbert nlike other animals, human beings spend a lot of time thinking about what is not going on around them, contemplating events that happened in the past, might happen in the future, or will never happen at all. A catatonic panorama of rich optical splendor, Julie Mehretu’s Excerpt (Citadel) engulfs the viewer like a surging visual mind-map.
Part urban planning, part biblical apocalypse, with its title in fact suggesting a spiritual force, this work demonstrates an extensive and . In this listing, entries for books of essays include the authors, titles, and page numbers of the essays, arranged as they appear in the volumes.
New York: Citadel, White, Roberta. A Studio of One’s Own: But do keep our readers in mind. The Citadel was controversial among the British medical community due to its examination of the conflict between medical ethics and what must be done to survive in a competitive field.
We even saw in Video/ F. Essay 10 how the great 19 th century poet William Blake recognised that our distressed condition is a result of a clash between the ‘two contrary states’ of an ‘innocen [t] ’, ‘lamb’-like, cooperative and loving moral instinctive heritage and our ‘Experience’-based conscious mind.
The SAT Essay and ACT Writing continue to pose a conundrum for students. While College Board and ACT have made these components optional, a small number of colleges continue to require or recommend them.