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“Autonomy and Automobility” by Loren E. Lomasky


The society is transforming and adopting efficient transport and communication technology to meet the demands of modern lifestyle. People have invented efficient transport means that have transformed the world’s distant nations into global villages. To date, a person can have breakfast in America, lunch in Asia, and have dinner in Africa due to improved transport systems. This essay is based on Loren E. Lomasky article about autonomy and automobility.

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Main Body

First, it is necessary to highlight what Lomasky captures as critique’s main point of view regarding the use of automobiles in modern day activities (Lomasky 5). He argues that critics underscore the value of inventing high speed motor vehicles due to an increase in road accidents. In addition, he also highlights automobile critique’s arguments that the construction of super highways and diversions requires a lot of money and time and wastes fertile lands. Lastly, he observed that his critics are concerned about the high rates of environmental pollution posed by an increase in motor vehicles.

It is evident that the above aspects are true and not arguable beyond this limit. However, it is necessary to evaluate the importance of automobiles in enhancing human life. When people fall ill, they seek immediate attention from medical practitioners to get treated and regain their health (Lomasky 16). However, it is needless to argue that people should not seek medical attention since being treated involves painful injections and taking of bitter drugs. Similarly, automobiles have many advantages that outweigh their disadvantages and this makes them lesser evils. Therefore, there is no doubt that even though automobiles have the above disadvantages, they are very important in advancing human life. Lomasky argues that automobiles have the following autonomy advantages.

He uses Aristotle’s argument that being a mover is one characteristic that differentiates between plants and animals. In fact, he notes that movement separates living things from non-living objects and this is an essential part of nature. Lomasky identifies several advantages associated with movements of living things. Automobiles are used to move from place to place in search of several aspects of human life, mobility gives human beings autonomy. He notes that all non-living things must be moved to change their positions (Lomasky 22). For instance, when a house is on fire, the occupants must move out all their belongings to salvage them from fire. However, all living things in that house will try to find their way out through available openings.

The author defines these movements in terms of changing positions and increase in sizes that makes individuals change. When children grow up, they develop and grow to attain independency.

Lomasky notes that automobility enhances autonomy in many aspects. Aristotle describes autonomy as the beginning of independency and freedom. He notes that when people are able to move from one place to another without restrictions, they can develop their personalities and social, political and economic standings. Therefore, mobility activates autonomy and enables individuals to exercise their freedom of movement, association and speech.

Therefore, automobility promotes socialization by giving individuals chances to interact with others and learn various interaction aspects. Independency is an essential development aspect that must be present to enable individuals to identify their abilities.

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Secondly, automobility promotes human potential, multiplies choices and allows people to move freely from one place to another. Whereas public transport means are restricted to specific areas, personalized travelling is flexible in various aspects. People have choices between using public or private transport to go to various places (Lomasky 18). However, these choices are limited by their urgency, price and availability to the public. Rich people have access to private vehicles and can purchase different models at the same time.

In addition, they may decide to take high ranked cabs to various events without feeling any pain in their pockets. However, low and middle income earners must use public means since it is the most appropriate for them. This is a default transport means assigned to them by nature and the society.

He notes that human beings and other animals are motivated to move by various perceptions. Whenever people perceive hunger, they must look for food either by cooking or buying from restaurants. In addition, when people perceive danger they move away from it and seek secure places (Lomasky 11). Therefore, the human mind must adapt to changes in the environment through developing automobile structures, technology and systems to enable them to live better lives.

Autonomy gives an object or living thing its appropriate form and without it cannot be recognized. This makes human beings to be ranked high at the hierarchy of life since people are more autonomous compared to other living things. Freedom of movement, speech, choice, and expression makes human beings to be ranked highly. Therefore, movement is richness derived from normative aspects of life that gives people a high status above nullity.

Automobility has a philosophical aspect that shapes individuals’ destiny and directs their ways. There are other external forces that determine human movements and this means that people must have control over them to rule their surroundings. Autonomy is derived through developing strategies that shape other people’s actions and thus control an individual’s directions (Lomasky 7). During traffic snarl-ups, motorists may decide to be reckless and cause confusions and further delays. However, these confusions will not only affect them but also other motorists waiting for the traffic lights to turn green.

Therefore, autonomy is closely associated with accountability. Once an individual is accountable for his actions, it means that they can determine their future by doing what is convenient, good, legal, and justifiable. However, sometimes, accountability is determined by other external forces that make human beings to be subjective in their judgment. These factors include force, coercion, manipulation, intimidation, and lies. However, autonomous individuals exercise control over these fears associated with external forces.

On the other hand, Lomasky notes that determinism and free will create a philosophy that is the most complex in human nature. He notes and uses Kant’s theory that the whole universe is self-controlled and nobody has power over it. Although people can build shelters to protect people against harsh conditions and construct dams and water reservoirs to conserve water for use during droughts, they have no control over nature.

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Lomasky argues that reason determines most human activities due to needs and wants that necessitate reasoning. However, he also observed that there were justifications for all happenings and the lineage was extended to nature and its role in advancing life. This includes natural selection that makes organisms to evolve and adapt to their surrounding; therefore, human beings have partial control over what happens in their daily activities. The author argues that Mill’s individuality arguments are based on the need to conform to societal expectations through social customs and laws that govern human behavior.

There is a close link between commuting and community that allows human beings to be social animals and help each other in various aspects. Sharing rides to work is the quickest and cheapest way to travel although it is very hectic. When it comes to traffic snarl-ups, everyone is involved in the gridlock irrespective of whether one is using public or private transport (Lomasky 16). There are many inconveniences associated with public transport and this makes it an inconvenient mean of travelling.

First, Lomasky argues that public transport is very rigid and does not provide flexibility. A public train, bus or plane goes according to its timetable and this does not rule out delays, rescheduling of flights and journeys. At the same time, public transport accommodates and welcomes people from various financial, social and cultural backgrounds, and this means that travelers have to contend with these conditions. This does not give them autonomy and the desire to control what they want to see or how they want to sit. Therefore, whereas public transport promotes communal bonding, it hinders personal autonomy and restricts people to follow specific procedures.

It is evident that public transport makes people from various backgrounds to bond without discriminating against one another. Whenever people share bus seats, they are able to share their experiences and discuss various national issues as pastime activities (Lomasky 22). In addition, people know their neighbors and those living in other estates through bus stages and work places. This makes it easier for them to car pool whenever one of them is lucky to own a car. It is clear that some people working in neighboring city buildings never know each other until they share ride or public transport. Therefore, they are able to see, talk and share various experiences that allow them to bond. However, this relationship does not usually go beyond casual meetings; therefore, it ensures people to maintain their personal spaces for confidentiality reasons.

Mobility promotes knowledge and learning in various aspects. People can describe events, places or people using the best grammatical expressions, figures or graphs, but this will never create real pictures in their audiences (Lomasky 17). However, when people visit a city like New York, they will understand both the day and nightlife of this big city and can explain or describe it well compared to when they read about it in a magazine. It is also essential to note that learning involves various perception aspects like hearing, seeing, smelling, feeling and tasting.

This allows individuals to have real feelings of places, objects, people or events. In addition, when people travel in their vehicles, they can stop to rest for hours or park their cars by the roadside to see various scenic places along the way. This enables them to have personal touch with various aspects of their environment and this gives them a knowledge–based advantage over their friends who have never seen or had a personal touch of various events.


Autonomy is closely related to automobility and critics should reconsider their arguments before laying blame on motoring as a complete evil. Automobile commuting is a remedy to public and private transport that offers many solutions to work and learning related problems. There should be measures to curb irresponsible driving and other evils associated with motoring.

Works Cited

Lomasky, Lorene E. “The Independent Review”. Autonomy and Automobility 2.1 (1997): 5-28. Print.

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StudyCorgi. (2022, January 2). “Autonomy and Automobility” by Loren E. Lomasky. Retrieved from


StudyCorgi. (2022, January 2). “Autonomy and Automobility” by Loren E. Lomasky.

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"“Autonomy and Automobility” by Loren E. Lomasky." StudyCorgi, 2 Jan. 2022,

1. StudyCorgi. "“Autonomy and Automobility” by Loren E. Lomasky." January 2, 2022.


StudyCorgi. "“Autonomy and Automobility” by Loren E. Lomasky." January 2, 2022.


StudyCorgi. 2022. "“Autonomy and Automobility” by Loren E. Lomasky." January 2, 2022.


StudyCorgi. (2022) '“Autonomy and Automobility” by Loren E. Lomasky'. 2 January.

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