Autonomy as a Normative Criterion: Imagination and Reflection as Its Indicators

  • Gustavo Pereira
Part of the Philosophy and Politics - Critical Explorations book series (PPCE, volume 9)


The last chapter of the first part presents the concept of autonomy as the normative criterion to evaluate social processes that negatively affect our practical life, and reflection and imagination operate as its indicators. The relationship between these concepts is asymmetrical because practical imagination allows for both autonomy and reflection. Imagination accomplishes this, in the case of autonomy, by allowing the agent to construct an image of what his practical world would be like once he agreed to what others claim. In the case of reflection, imagination allows agents to represent themselves as an objectified image which, by distancing from themselves, can let them evaluate their desires and impulses and eventually consciously adopt them or even reject them. The concepts of imagination, autonomy and reflection operate as a normative network that makes our practical life possible, which is why they allow us to identify the circumstances that hinder or enhance their exercise. This is so because as long as a social situation blocks, hinders or diminishes our possibilities of being autonomous, reflective and imaginative, it can be qualified as unfair or pathological. These three concepts, autonomy being the basic criterion, and reflection and imagination its indicators, allow us to attribute the condition of pathological to the social dynamics that undermine it.


Normative criterion Normative network Practical evaluation 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gustavo Pereira
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of HumanitiesUniversidad de la RepúblicaMontevideoUruguay

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