Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Dictionary

A modern dictionary of Catholic terms, both common and obscure. Find accurate definitions of words and phrases.

Search:

Or browse the dictionary by selecting a letter!
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

AUTONOMOUS MORALITY

The theory that each person imposes the moral law on himself. It is opposed to heteronomous morality, which holds that the moral law is imposed from outside of man by another, and ultimately by the divine Other, who is God, which makes the moral law theonomous.

Developed into a system by Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), autonomous morality in effect deifies each person's free will. In the Kantian understanding of freedom, liberty means not only freedom of choice but freedom of independence, on the assumption that one cannot retain free will and still be under the command of another's law. To save freedom, Kant demanded autonomy, but by demanding autonomy he destroyed all real obligation and therefore all real law. (Etym. Greek autonomos,free, living by one' own laws; Latin moralis,relating to conduct.)

All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Using the figure of Pope Francis for evangelization 0 hours ago
If Catholic priests never preach on sexual morality, be suspicious 0 hours ago
On Bishops and Jesuits, Saints and Angels 21 hours ago
Bishop Finn in Kansas City: Not quite up to date? 23 hours ago
Oh, that sort of misconduct September 29

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Cardinals criticize Kasper proposal, escalating debate on remarriage/Communion CWN - September 18
Cardinal Parolin: UN must protect innocents from Islamic State CWN - September 30