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Independence vs. Autonomy: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
Independence is the state of being free from outside control or support, while autonomy refers to the right or condition of self-governance, especially in a particular sphere.
Independence vs. Autonomy

Key Differences

Independence implies complete self-governance and sovereignty, often associated with nations or individuals free from external rule. Autonomy, while also referring to self-governance, often suggests a degree of self-direction within a larger entity or system.
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Dec 05, 2023
Independence is a state where an entity functions without external influence or control, embodying absolute self-determination. Autonomy, in contrast, involves self-regulation and decision-making within certain boundaries or under an overarching authority.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 05, 2023
Independence often signifies a total break or separation, as seen in countries achieving independence from colonial powers. Autonomy, however, can imply a level of self-rule while still being part of a larger framework, like autonomous regions within a country.
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Dec 05, 2023
Independence is typically seen as a binary state—you are either independent or not. Autonomy, conversely, exists on a spectrum, as it can vary in degrees depending on the context and constraints.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 05, 2023
In the context of personal development, independence denotes self-reliance without reliance on others. Autonomy refers to making one's own choices, but within the confines of a larger social or familial structure.
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Comparison Chart

Nature

Absolute self-governance
Self-direction within constraints
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Context

Often political, national
Personal, regional, organizational
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Degree

Binary (present or absent)
Spectrum (varied levels)
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Relation

No external control
Some external influence allowed
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Example

A country free from colonial rule
An individual making choices within family guidelines
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Independence and Autonomy Definitions

Independence

Freedom from external control.
The country celebrated its independence with a national holiday.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 25, 2023

Autonomy

Self-governing, operating independently within a framework.
The university's department maintained a high level of autonomy.
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Nov 25, 2023

Independence

The state of being self-governing.
The colony fought fiercely for its independence.
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Nov 25, 2023

Autonomy

Freedom to act according to one's own rules.
Employees appreciate the autonomy in their work schedules.
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Nov 25, 2023

Independence

Freedom from bias or influence.
The judge's independence ensures a fair trial.
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Nov 25, 2023
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Autonomy

The power to make choices without external influence.
The autonomous committee made its decisions without interference.
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Nov 25, 2023

Independence

Uniqueness or individuality.
His independence of thought was evident in his writings.
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Nov 25, 2023

Autonomy

Independence in decision-making.
Patient autonomy is vital in healthcare decisions.
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Nov 25, 2023

Independence

The state or quality of being independent.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Autonomy

Self-directing freedom, especially moral independence.
The philosopher spoke about the importance of personal autonomy.
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Nov 25, 2023

Independence

(Archaic) Sufficient income for comfortable self-support; a competence.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Autonomy

The condition or quality of being autonomous; independence.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Independence

The quality or state of being independent; lack of dependence; the state of not being reliant on, or controlled by, others.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Autonomy

Self-government or the right of self-government; self-determination.
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Oct 19, 2023

Independence

The state of having sufficient means for a comfortable livelihood.
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Oct 19, 2023

Autonomy

Self-government with respect to local or internal affairs
Granted autonomy to a national minority.
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Oct 19, 2023

Independence

The state or quality of being independent; freedom from dependence; exemption from reliance on, or control by, others; self-subsistence or maintenance; direction of one's own affairs without interference.
Let fortune do her worst, . . . as long as she never makes us lose our honesty and our independence.
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Oct 19, 2023

Autonomy

A self-governing state, community, or group.
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Oct 19, 2023

Independence

Sufficient means for a comfortable livelihood.
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Oct 19, 2023

Autonomy

(uncountable) The right or condition of self-government; freedom to act or function independently.
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Oct 19, 2023

Independence

Freedom from control or influence of another or others
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Oct 19, 2023

Autonomy

A self-governing country or region.
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Oct 19, 2023

Independence

The successful ending of the American Revolution;
They maintained close relations with England even after independence
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Autonomy

The capacity to make an informed, uncoerced decision.
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Oct 19, 2023

Independence

A city in western Missouri; the beginning of the Santa Fe Trail
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Autonomy

The capacity of a system to make a decision about its actions without the involvement of another system or operator.
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Oct 19, 2023

Independence

Self-reliance, not dependent on others.
She valued her financial independence above all else.
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Nov 25, 2023

Autonomy

The status of a church whose highest-ranking bishop is appointed by the patriarch of the mother church, but which is self-governing in all other respects. Compare autocephaly.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Autonomy

The power or right of self-government; self-government, or political independence, of a city or a state.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Autonomy

The sovereignty of reason in the sphere of morals; or man's power, as possessed of reason, to give law to himself. In this, according to Kant, consist the true nature and only possible proof of liberty.
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Oct 19, 2023

Autonomy

Immunity from arbitrary exercise of authority: political independence
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Oct 19, 2023

Autonomy

Personal independence
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Oct 19, 2023

Repeatedly Asked Queries

Is autonomy only related to politics?

No, it can apply to various areas including personal decisions, organizations, and regions.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 05, 2023

Can independence apply to countries?

Yes, it often refers to a nation's freedom from external control.
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Dec 05, 2023

What is the definition of autonomy?

Autonomy is the right or condition of self-governance, especially in a particular sphere.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 05, 2023

Do independence and autonomy mean the same thing?

They are similar, but independence emphasizes freedom from external control, while autonomy focuses on self-governance and decision-making.
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Dec 05, 2023

Is financial independence a form of autonomy?

Financial independence contributes to autonomy but is specifically about being free from financial reliance on others.
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Dec 05, 2023

Can a company operate independently but not autonomously?

Yes, if it's free from external control but follows a strict internal governance structure.
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Dec 05, 2023

What does independence mean?

Independence refers to the state of being free from control or influence of others, often used for nations or individuals.
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Dec 05, 2023

Is personal autonomy a human right?

Many consider personal autonomy, especially in moral or ethical decisions, a fundamental human right.
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Dec 05, 2023

Can an individual have autonomy within a group?

Yes, individuals can exercise autonomy by making their own choices within a group or organization.
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Dec 05, 2023

Can a region have autonomy without independence?

Yes, regions can have self-governing powers while still being part of a larger nation.
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Dec 05, 2023

Is independence a legal term?

It can be, especially in contexts of national sovereignty and legal adulthood.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 05, 2023

How does autonomy relate to freedom of speech?

Autonomy includes the ability to express oneself freely, which is a part of freedom of speech.
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Is independence an important concept in education?

Yes, it refers to developing the ability to think and act independently.
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Does independence always mean complete separation?

In political contexts, yes, but in personal contexts, it can mean freedom without complete separation.
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How is autonomy used in healthcare?

It refers to patients' rights to make informed decisions about their medical treatments.
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How does autonomy impact workplace dynamics?

Employee autonomy often leads to higher job satisfaction and productivity.
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Dec 05, 2023

Can a dependent territory have autonomy?

Yes, some dependent territories have self-governing powers.
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Dec 05, 2023

Does autonomy imply a lack of rules?

No, it involves self-governance within a framework of rules or principles.
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Dec 05, 2023

Can an autonomous region declare independence?

Legally, it depends on the national laws and international recognition.
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Dec 05, 2023

Are independence and autonomy interdependent concepts?

They can be, as autonomy often requires a certain degree of independence to be meaningful.
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Dec 05, 2023

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Shumaila Saeed
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Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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