The weight of freedom: Political integrity and non-sovereign autonomy /

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Bibliographic Details
Author / Creator:McFadden, Tanner J., author.
Ann Arbor : ProQuest Dissertations & Theses, 2015
Description:1 electronic resource (170 pages)
Format: E-Resource Dissertations
Local Note:School code: 0330
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Other authors / contributors:University of Chicago. degree granting institution.
Notes:Advisors: Patchen Markell Committee members: Robert Gooding-Williams; Linda M. G. Zerilli.
Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 77-02(E), Section: A.
Summary:This dissertation defends autonomy as a conception of political freedom appropriate to the practice of democratic citizenship. The dissertation argues that autonomy consists in a certain sort of relation to others---that independence consists in a certain sort of dependence. To specify the form of dependence that autonomy requires, the dissertation argues that autonomy requires responsiveness, an ongoing practical acknowledgment of others' interpretive authority, and situatedness, an ongoing practical acknowledgment of our relation to structures of meaning and power that lend significance to our acts and claims. The dissertation identifies the situated, responsive practice of autonomy with political integrity as a conception of political freedom, and argues that political integrity renders autonomy available to agents under the conditions of historical and social dependence highlighted in non-sovereign accounts of human agency. In arguing that autonomy does not depend on sovereignty, the dissertation seeks to overcome the impasse in contemporary democratic theory between deliberative and agonistic conceptions of democracy. Deliberative conceptions identify democracy with formally rational institutions aimed at generating consensus, while agonistic conceptions present democracy as a mode of contestation resistant to institutionalization and animated by the exclusions inherent in every consensus. The dissertation argues that these opposed conceptions of democracy share the fundamental assumption that autonomy depends on sovereignty, and seeks to dissolve the dilemma between them by showing that autonomy requires not sovereignty but rather the acknowledgement of our mutual dependence characteristic of political integrity Chapter one diagnoses the tendency to assume that autonomy depends on sovereignty. It makes three key claims: that contemporary democratic theorists tend to assume that autonomy and non-sovereignty are mutually incompatible; that this assumption gets its grip on contemporary democratic theory through a certain way of juxtaposing Kant and Nietzsche; and that that way of juxtaposing Kant and Nietzsche ignores Kant's attempt to think through non-sovereign judgment on one side, and Nietzsche's rethinking of autonomy in terms of self-mastery on the other. Chapters two and three read Hegel and Arendt, respectively, as theorists of non-sovereign autonomy. Chapter two claims, first, that Hegel understands autonomy to be incompatible with sovereignty; and, second, that he develops a conception of autonomy that is compatible with plurality because it incorporates responsiveness. Chapter three, in turn, first argues that Arendt understands the political freedom of non-sovereign agents as normative self-determination---as autonomy---and then argues that her complex conception of the human artifice allows her to understand this autonomy as situated within historically contingent structures of meaning. Chapter four brings the concept of autonomy developed over the preceding chapters into conversation with the politics of racial integration in the U.S. It outlines the practice of political integrity, showing how it incorporates responsiveness and situatedness, and argues that this practice can orient the struggles of agents pursuing social justice on the terrain of real-world politics.