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Heteronomy refers to action that is influenced by a force outside the individual, in other words the state or condition of being ruled, governed, or under the sway of another, as in amilitary occupation.
Immanuel Kant, drawing on Jean-Jacques Rousseau, considered such an action nonmoral.
It is the counter/opposite of autonomy.
Philosopher Cornelius Castoriadis contrasted heteronomy from autonomy in noting that while all societies create their own institutions (laws, traditions and behaviors), autonomous societies are those in which their members are aware of this fact, and explicitly self-institute (αυτο-νομούνται). In contrast, the members of heteronomous societies (hetero = others) attribute their imaginaries to some extra-social authority (e.g., God, the state, ancestors, historical necessity, etc.).
- Rousseau, J.J. ( 1754-1762). The Social Contract, A Discourse on the Origin of Inequality, and A Discourse on Political Economy. New York: Classic Books International.
- Glossary of Kant's Technical Terms by Stephen Palmquist
- Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Heteronomy". Encyclopædia Britannica 13 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
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