Essays in the Philosophy of Humanism, Vol 24, No 1 (2016)

Toward an Account of Relational Autonomy in Healthcare and Treatment Settings

Simone Lee Joannou
Issued Date: 20 Sep 2016


Currently held conceptions of autonomy that inform biomedicine are inadequate and oppressive. Liberal notions of individualism are anti-humanist and constitute pernicious socialization, which leads to internalized oppression and dehumanization, especially among already oppressed groups. Women in recovery from addiction and other mental illnesses are especially affected by anti-humanist conceptions of autonomy. I argue that these women need to receive treatment that supports autonomy through supplementing psychiatric and rehabilitative therapy with humanistic education and group therapy. Treatment must encourage the construction of healthy social interaction that augments a sense of supported autonomy.

Download Media

PDF (Price: £17.50 )

DOI: 10.1558/eph.31406


Charles, S. 2010. “How Should Feminist Autonomy Theorists Respond to the Problem of Internalized Oppression?” Social Theory and Practice 36(3): 409–438.

Ells, C. 2001. “Lessons About Autonomy from the Experience of Disability.” Social Theory and Practice. Special Issue: Embodied Values: Philosophy and Disabilities 27(4): 599–615.

McLeod, C. and Sherwin, S. 2000. “Relational Autonomy, Self-trust, and Health Care for Patients Who Are Oppressed.” Relational Autonomy: Feminist Perspectives on Autonomy, Agency and the Social Self, edited by Catriona Mackenzie and Natalie Stoljar, 259–279. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Meyers, D.T. 1987. “Personal Autonomy and the Paradox of Feminine Socialization.” The Journal of Philosophy 84(11): 619–628.

Nedelsky, J. 1989. “Reconceiving Autonomy: Sources, Thoughts and Possibilities.” Yale Journal of Law and Feminism 1(1): 7–36.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Equinox Publishing Ltd - 415 The Workstation 15 Paternoster Row, Sheffield, S1 2BX United Kingdom
Telephone: +44 (0)114 221-0285 - Email: [email protected]

Privacy Policy