Meaning of Heteronomy

What is Heteronomy:

Heteronomy refers to the dependence and submission of an individual whose conduct is under the control of a third person or external agent. Consequently, heteronomy is the opposite of autonomy.

The word heteronomy derives from the Greek straight, which means "other" and, nomos that expresses "law".

This term is used in the area of ‚Äč‚Äčethical philosophy in order to differentiate those people who develop their lives under a set of rules that have been imposed on them and who comply, in many cases, against their will, but in order to to be accepted or to be part of a social group.

This term is attributed to the philosopher Immanuel Kant, who dedicated himself to investigating the will of people and segmented them into two branches: reason (autonomy) and inclination (heteronomy).

In this way, Kant sought to understand the behavior of individuals who follow the norms, laws and customs that characterize and govern the various societies to which they belong, which, according to him, are individuals who lose their freedom and independence because their behavior does not it follows its own reason but an external will.

Heteronomy and autonomy

People generally take a submissive stance in order to follow and adhere to standardized life models as much as possible. However, breaking these rules to express your will is not as easy as it may seem and, if you do, you would be talking about autonomy.

Therefore, when reference is made to heteronomy, an action that is carried out, not of its own free will, but through external influence is being indicated. This occurs when a person makes a decision that corresponds to an individual, consequently they are decisions made by others.

However, autonomy indicates the ability of individuals to make their own decisions or impose a set of rules independently and without the influence of others. Autonomy implies a process of individual integral maturation and development.

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