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Ecosocial Autonomy as an Educational Ideal

Jani Pulkki, Sami Keto


Autonomy – or rational self-control – is not only fashionable as an educational ideal, but also in present-day economics, ethics, and society in general. However, the concept of traditional autonomy is problematic because it privileges humans and treats the rest of nature primarily as resources fit only for human exploitation. This anthropocentrism has led human beings to see themselves as superior to nature and separate. Ecosocial autonomy is an attempt to redress the balance, by contextualising autonomy so it incorporates the idea of self-control, while taking into account the impact of humankind on our surrounding ecosystems. Our formulation of ecosocial autonomy is an extension of relational autonomy – based mainly on ecological, ecosocial, and ecofeminist ideas. Ecosocial autonomy is thus contextualized within a multispecies society which includes our interdependencies with other living creatures. Whereas the individualist idea of autonomy suggests a human being owes nothing to society, ecosocial autonomy acknowledges the need to cultivate aspects of self-sufficiency that combine reason, emotional maturity, and will. A competitive society presupposes individual autonomy and the need to defend oneself. Ecosocial autonomy advocates a form of social interaction that diverts the human energy misspent on individual competition to mutually beneficial collaboration.


autonomy; ecofeminism; ecosocial education; education; environmental education; holobiont; individualism; multispecies society; philosophy of education; relational autonomy.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7358/rela-2022-02-puke

Copyright (©) 2023 Jani Pulkki, Sami Keto – Editorial format and Graphical layout: copyright (©) LED Edizioni Universitarie

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Relations. Beyond Anthropocentrism
Registered by Tribunale di Milano (04/05/2012 n. 211)
Online ISSN 2280-9643 - Print ISSN 2283-3196

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