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Conferences & lectures

A Minimalist Theory of Autonomy and its Educational Implications

Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Learning Speaker Series

Date & time
Thursday, February 25, 2021
3:30 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.

Registration is closed


Daniel Weinstock


This event is free



In this talk and Q&A, Daniel Weinstock will defend a distinctive account of individual autonomy. Traditionally, philosophical accounts of autonomy have emphasized what Weinstock calls a rational endorsement condition where a person is autonomous if she exercises some rational control over her conative states — her emotions and desires.

Weinstock argues against such "two-level" accounts and emphasizes the importance of realizable individual options based on internal and external conditions. The implication of this view for schools tasked with developing children's autonomy is that the curriculum contributes to the presentation of realizable options without conveying the message that some are preferable to others.

Weinstock argues, however, that we should allow for a wide range of ways in which agents come to endorse options, from rational endorsement as traditionally construed to imaginative identification and a plurality of other modalities.

About the speaker

Daniel Weinstock holds the Katharine A. Pearson Chair in Civil Society and Public Policy in the Faculty of Law and the Department of Philosophy at McGill University. From 2013 to 2020, he was the director of McGill's Institute for Health and Social Policy, where he still holds an appointment. As a professor in the Département de philosophie at Université de Montréal, he held a Canada Research Chair between 2000 and 2012 and was the founding director of the Centre de recherche en éthique de l'Université de Montréal.

His research spans a wide range of issues at the interface between political philosophy and public policy. He has participated in several public commissions, including the "Bouchard/Taylor" commission on religious accommodation and the Proulx commission on religion in public schools. He has published over 150 academic articles.

Daniel Weinstock Daniel Weinstock

Presented as part of the Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Learning Speaker Series by Concordia University's Centre for the Study of Learning and Performance (CSLP)

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