Luke Armstrong




Research title: Autonomy in Political Liberalism: Does it rely on folk psychology?

Research Summary

Research Summary

Liberal political philosophy tends to be centred on a theory of autonomy.  This is true of John Rawls’ theory of political liberalism. Through political liberalism, Rawls sought to identify a conception of justice that would be compatible with the wide range of philosophical doctrines contained in a modern society.  As such, Rawls’ theory of autonomy attempts to avoid commitments to particular moral and metaphysical conceptions of human nature, as these commitments could be incongruent with certain beliefs.  However, Rawls’ theory was also designed to be compatible with scientific evidence.  In contemporary neuroscience, there is evidence suggesting the extent to which we have free will is limited.  My research examines whether Rawls’ theory of autonomy is compatible with the current state of knowledge in neuroscience. 

Research Interests

  • Political Theory
  • Autonomy
  • Liberalism


PhD Title


Autonomy in Political Liberalism


Sponsor / Funder