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‘Neo-liberal Individualism’ and the Principle of Autonomy

KIM MOONJEONG ORD ID 1

1동아대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

While the principle of autonomy is widely regarded as a fundamental principle of biomedical ethics, it is not completely clear how that principle should be understood. The purpose of this article is to identify a reasonable concept of autonomy within the context of contemporary neo-liberalist individualism. Neoliberalism developed out of the liberal tradition that emphasizes individual rights and freedoms. However, the concept of autonomy at the root of this rights-based view has been transformed through the quantitative expansion of, and qualitative changes to, individualism. In this article I discuss and reconsider the meaning of autonomy in terms of “an individual” as reflected in the spirit of neo-liberal individualism. I argue that while competition and accumulation are thought to be virtues of contemporary life, liberty should be understood, not in terms of liberty from interference, but rather in terms of liberty from the severe inequalities caused by the dominant social relations. This notion of liberty as non-domination is central to a more robust and meaningful principle of autonomy.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.