Individual Autonomy And The Public Interest: Some Theoretical Considerations

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University of Ghana


This thesis starts off by showing or giving some evidence to support claims that traditional Akan societies, as well as many other traditional African societies, by some of their traditional beliefs and practices, suppress individual autonomy. That is to say, the continual observance of some beliefs and practices of traditional Akan societies makes the attainment of individual autonomy a problem. The observance of these beliefs and practices leads to the suppression of individual autonomy which in turn leads to frequent tensions between those who want to maintain the continuous practice of these traditional norms and beliefs and some individuals' attempt to be free. The thesis therefore seeks to show the importance of individual autonomy to every human being, both in traditional societies and even in modem states. The thesis also challenges some interpretations of the term 'public interest' as justifications given for the suppression of individual autonomy. To show that individual autonomy is not entirely antithetical or foreign to some of the beliefs and practices of traditional societies, as it is frequently argued, the thesis concludes by proposing a theory of a traditional Akan society that accommodates individual autonomy while still maintaining some of the principles that underlie the continual practice of some of their cherished and inherited cultural beliefs.


M.Phil Degree


Individual Autonomy, Public Interest