Meaningful Work and Freedom: Self-Realization, Autonomy, and Non-Domination in Work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


One value invoked in arguments for taking meaningful work seriously as an ethical aspiration, and for rearranging our working practices to accommodate
this aspiration, is that of individual freedom. This appeal typically takes three forms. The first, drawing from an Aristotelian ideal of human flourishing,
appeals to freedom conceived as self-realization. The second centers on freedom understood in the sense of personal autonomy or self-determination. The
third appeals to freedom conceived as non-domination, which is deemed a precondition for enjoying self-realization and self-determination in work.
These freedom-based claims for institutionalizing and maintaining meaningful work are compelling both in normative and empirical terms. Moreover,
they are in no way undermined by counterclaims to the effect that meaningful work is not an appropriate public policy concern or that the ideals of self-realization and autonomy can be harnessed to legitimize exploitative work
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Meaningful Work
Editors Ruth Yeoman et al
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford UP
Number of pages22
ISBN (Print)9780198788232
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jan 2019

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