The starting point of this paper is the idea of individual autonomy: Autonomy from the social body and from its influences, i.e., broadly speaking, autonomy from the “whole” of which the individual is a part. In particular, I shall address some of the problems arising out of the relations between the whole and its parts, basically problems of law and morality. We are accostumed to thinking that the relation between a particular individual and the universal whole to which the individual belongs should be a happy relationship. Such “happiness”, however, will prove to be -from the liberal perspective here assumed- a problematic notion. From such premises as these, a argument will be developed, on behalf of social recognition and legal protection for out-of-the-mainstream forms of behaviour or lifestyle, i.e., for individuals and groups that claim the “otherness” of their position together with a right of freedom from discrimination.
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