Whichever definition of autonomy is used, it is usually formulated in a negative way by the absence, rather than presence, of the defining factors. Some definitions refer to the absence of external causes, physical determination, coercion or control. If positive factors are used, autonomy is associated with the shift from effective causes to final ones. Both approaches, the former of which is based on the elimination of determinism to secure free choice, and the latter of which is based on the replacement of determination by the past by determination by the future, are inconsistent with the scientific description of reality. This paper is an attempt to provide the positive, constructive characterization of autonomy consistent with the scientific view of reality, which can guide us in our search for its implementation in artefacts.
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