Contributor(s)Fischer, John M
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AbstractCoercion and conceptions of legitimate authority intersect with freedom and autonomy at both the individual level and the political level, and are central to two separate discourses in philosophy, namely, to discussions of free will and agency, and to social and political theory. However, with few exceptions, these discussions have gone on independently of one another. Traditionally, theories of agency have analyzed autonomy in terms of responsibility, such that an agent can be regarded as autonomous only if she is responsible for her actions. Social and political theory, on the other hand, is primarily concerned with how we may preserve our autonomy and freedom in the face of economic pressure and political authority, and has typically linked individual freedom to questions of human rights and political entitlements. I use the conception of responsibility that has been crucial to discussions of free will and agency to correct for the current over-emphasis on entitlements in social and political theory. I show how the concept of responsibility, rather than rights and entitlements, may provide a basis for freedom, by linking responsibility to discourse and discourse to freedom.