Control and authenticity : reflections on personal autonomy

Paphitis, Sharli Anne (2011) Control and authenticity : reflections on personal autonomy. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.




Currently the most influential accounts of personal autonomy, at least in the Englishspeaking world, focus on providing conditions under which agents can be said to exercise self-control. Two distinct accounts of personal autonomy have emerged in this tradition: firstly, hierarchical models grounded in the work of Harry Frankfurt; and secondly, systems division models most famously articulated by Gary Watson. In this thesis I show the inadequacies of both of these models by exploring the problematic views of the self and self-control underlying each model. I will suggest that the problems faced by these models stem from the fact that they endorse a problematic fragmentation of the self. I suggest that a Nietzschean account of personal autonomy is able to avoid these problems. The Nietzschean account can largely, I show, be drawn from Nietzsche’s understanding of both the ‘man of ressentiment’ and his opposite, the sovereign individual. On this picture wholeness of self – rather than fragmentation of the self – is required in order for us to be most fully autonomous. Furthermore, this wholeness of self requires the kind of integrity which is opposed to the problematic fragmentation endorsed by Frankfurt and Watson.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Self-control, Authenticity (Philosophy), Autonomy (Philosophy), Self (Philosophy), Harry G. Frankfurt, 1929-, Gary Watson, 1943-, Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, 1844-1900
Subjects:B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Humanities > Philosophy
ID Code:2196
Deposited By: Ms Chantel Clack
Deposited On:08 Nov 2011 08:15
Last Modified:06 Jan 2012 16:22
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