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Towards a Deliberative and Associational Democracy$
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Stephen Elstub

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780748627394

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748627394.001.0001

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Cultivating Autonomy: The Normative Core of Democracy

Cultivating Autonomy: The Normative Core of Democracy

(p.9) 1 Cultivating Autonomy: The Normative Core of Democracy
Towards a Deliberative and Associational Democracy

Stephen Elstub

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter presents the case that the cultivation of the value of autonomy is the normative core of democracy. It suggests that as autonomy and democracy both aim to make their agents self-determining, the relationship between them is therefore implicit. The chapter argues that we should strive to reach ‘deliberative autonomy’ so that the outcomes of decisions are intended. For this to occur, free choice from a range of acceptable options based upon rationally formed preferences is required. In order to ensure that preferences are rationally formed, an adequate range of available information must be considered. The chapter concludes by highlighting how collective decisions are different to individual decisions, as the former affect others.

Keywords:   autonomy, democracy, deliberative autonomy, free choice, collective decision

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