4th Pavia Graduate Conference in Political Philosophy – Abstract/Colburn

Ben Colburn

Anti-Perfectionisms and Autonomy

I attempt to reconstruct an argument for the value of autonomy based on remarks by Joseph Raz in The Morality of Freedom. Raz states that anti{perfectionism about values, though misguided, is frequently motivated by correct intuitions: that is, by an implicit commitment to autonomy. Frustratingly, Raz only hints at how this claim might be supported, and a first attempt to reconstruct an argument has an unwelcome feature: anti{perfectionism is asserted to in the premisses and denied in the conclusion. I suggest that we solve this problem by drawing a distinction between two types of values, and therefore between two types of perfectionism. The naive reconstruction of Raz’s argument involves an equivocation between these two types, and once they are distinguished, the appearance of paradox is avoided.