Research on autonomy exhibits a constellation of variegated perspectives, from the problem of the crude deprivation of it to the study of the distinction between personal and moral autonomy, and from the problem of the role of a “self as narrator”, who classifies
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Research on autonomy exhibits a constellation of variegated perspectives, from the problem of the crude deprivation of it to the study of the distinction between personal and moral autonomy, and from the problem of the role of a “self as narrator”, who classifies its own actions as autonomous or not, to the importance of the political side and, finally, to the need of defending and enhancing human autonomy. My precise concern in this article will be the examination of the role of the human cognitive processes that give rise to the most important ways of tracking the external world and human behavior in their relationship to some central aspects of human autonomy, also to the aim of clarifying the link between autonomy and the ownership of our own destinies. I will also focus on the preservation of human autonomy as an important component of human dignity, seeing it as strictly associated with knowledge and, even more significantly, with the constant production of new and pertinent knowledge of various kinds. I will also describe the important paradox of autonomy
, which resorts to the fact that, on one side, cognitions (from science to morality, from common knowledge to philosophy, etc.) are necessary to be able to perform autonomous actions and decisions because we need believe in rules that justify and identify our choices, but, on the other side, these same rules can become (for example, as a result of contrasting with other internalized and approved moral rules or knowledge contents) oppressive norms that diminish autonomy and can thus, paradoxically, defeat agents’ autonomous capacity “to take ownership”.