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By Marilyn Friedman

Ladies have traditionally been avoided from residing autonomously by way of systematic injustice, subordination, and oppression. The lingering results of those practices have brought on many feminists to view autonomy with suspicion. right here, Marilyn Friedman defends the suitable of feminist autonomy. In her eyes, habit is self sufficient if it accords with the desires, cares, values, or commitments that the actor has reaffirmed and is ready to maintain within the face of competition. via her account, autonomy is socially grounded but additionally individualizing and infrequently socially disruptive, traits that may be eventually valuable for girls. Friedman applies the idea that of autonomy to domain names of unique curiosity to girls. She defends the significance of autonomy in romantic love, considers how social associations may still reply to girls who decide to stay in abusive relationships, and argues that liberal societies should still tolerate minority cultural practices that violate women's rights as long as the ladies in query have selected autonomously to stay in accordance with these practices.

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Example text

The activities that women were traditionally able to undertake often left women with significant room for discretionary judgment and genuine, although circumscribed, opportunities to pursue what they valued and cared about. Women could still be content-neutrally autonomous in pursuing the deep, traditional concerns other than autonomy they happened to have. That is, when women affirm contra-autonomy norms, such as those of traditional femininity, this diminishes the degree of autonomy such women can attain but it does not absolutely preclude it.

Thus someone might have autonomy competency yet not be an autonomous person because she is frequently blocked from exercising that competency by obstacles over which she may have little control. For an agent’s choices and actions to reflect her deep concerns, she must be able to persist in promoting those concerns to some extent even in the face of obstacles. She must be able to resist to some minimal degree the efforts by others to obstruct or thwart her efforts to act according to her deeper con- A CONCEPTION OF AUTONOMY 19 cerns.

Feminists and other social critics might reject this sort of argument on the grounds that moral practices as we have traditionally known them are sometimes oppressive. Because of that oppressiveness, we should not accept any of the presuppositions of our traditional moral practices. This worry, however, would not be reason enough to reject the assumption of selves. The oppressiveness of traditional moral practices does not necessarily undermine any of the presuppositions on which those practices depend.

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