Heteronomy could be interpreted as the opposite idea to autonomy . People do not achieve self-determination based on their own opinions, but rather, for one reason or another, they allow themselves to be influenced by what is foreign or external.
Feature and important data
The word comes from the Greek heteronomous , which means “dependent on others.”
Immanuel Kant was the one who developed ideas about autonomy and heteronomy in his work “Critique of practical reason”. The philosopher describes heteronomy as the moral character of factors that does not depend on the will of the subject. These factors may be religious, legal, or governmental, as well as the personal interests of others.
There is little freedom in people who live under heteronomy. But following laws should not be confused with being heteronomous , since being a good citizen does not make us lose our autonomy as long as we follow our own moral laws, on the contrary, with this we have a good role within society.
There are autonomous or sovereign territories , but that does not mean that their inhabitants are. There are also cases in which the society of a country is almost completely heteronomous given the political or religious dominance of its leaders.
Examples of heteronomy
Here are examples of some behaviors of heteronomous people:
- Members of cults whose leaders lobby for particular actions and believe that only they can tell them how they should live.
- Always try to be “fashionable” because someone else says it is the best.
- Enduring abuse by another person believing that it is for our good.
- Accept the opinions of most people as true before relying on your own criteria.
- Be faithful to politicians, artists or any other character, even if they have a behavior that goes against our idea of morals and good manners.
- Accept as our own the tastes of other people to fit in with them.
- Study what the family wants us to study.
- Attending political proselytizing events just because someone else orders it.
- Doing an activity just because all your friends do it.
- Starting a vice such as tobacco to be able to be in a certain place or with certain people.