Raz on the Right to Autonomy
journal contributionposted on 2018-06-29, 23:40 authored by Nicole Hassoun
In The Morality of Freedom, Joseph Raz argues against a right to autonomy. This argument helps to distinguish his theory from his competitors’. For, many liberal theories ground such a right and some even start from an autonomy-based account of rights. This paper suggests that Raz's argument raises an important dilemma for his larger theory. Unless his account of rights is limited in some way, Raz’s argument applies against almost all (purported) rights, not just a right to autonomy. But, on the traditional way of limiting accounts like his, Raz’s account actually supports the conclusion that people have a right to autonomy. So, unless there is another way of limiting his account that does not have this consequence, Raz’s argument against a right to autonomy does not go through.