The concept of autonomy is important in the philosophy of actions, especially moral actions. When an agent (one who acts) acts autonomously, it is because they act based upon internal drives, desires and values. On the other hand, when one acts heteronomously, he or she acts based upon external forces and obligations. The word itself is derived from the Greek terms for "self" (auto) and "law" (nomos).
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What are Ethics and Morality?
Ethics is the formal study of moral standards and conduct. For this reason, the study of ethics is also often called "moral philosophy." What is good? What is evil? How should I behave - and why? How should I balance my needs against the needs of others?
What is Philosophy?
What is philosophy? Is there any point in studying philosophy, or is it a useless subject? What are the different branches of philosophy - what's the difference between aestheitcs and ethics? What's the difference between metaphysics and epistemology?