Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)





First Advisor

Prof. BAKER Derek Clayton

Second Advisor

Prof. SAUCHELLI Andrea


In political philosophy, the concept of autonomy is often associated with liberalism: it serves as a justification for the liberal values of state neutrality and value pluralism, and seems coherent with the liberal definition of freedom as the absence of interference. Neo-republicans have pointed out that freedom as non-interference fails to acknowledge the fact that one may be unfree while non-interfered with, while on the other hand, not all forms of interference are freedom-limiting. They have proposed to replace the concept by freedom as non-domination, which they define as the absence of actual or possible arbitrary interference. Although their definition is promising, neo-republicans tend to neglect the concept of self-government and therefore, are vulnerable to the same accusations of incompleteness faced by liberals. By focusing on the negative part of freedom as non-domination, they have omitted two aspects: first, that there are other ways to be unfree than to be the subject of mere arbitrary interference, and second, that the real value of non-domination is the capacity to act as a non-dominated being, which requires a level of self-mastery. To fix this problem, I propose an extension of the concept of non-domination and argue that the theory would benefit from including autonomy in the list of its conditions for freedom. Following the republican idea that one is only free in a free state, I propose a definition of republican autonomy that is political in nature, and depends on globalized nondomination.



Recommended Citation

Thibaud, E. (2021). Republican autonomy: Extending freedom as non-domination (Doctoral thesis, Lingnan University, Hong Kong). Retrieved from

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