The traditional model of the autonomous political state, as a state free from external governance, is an unsatisfactory basis for thinking about personal autonomy. Foremost among the reasons for its unsatisfactoriness is that autonomy does not merely consist in being unobstructed in one’s pursuits. To be thus unobstructed is necessary, but not sufficient. To exercise autonomy, certain positive qualities are also required, viz. the possession of rational capacities, strength of will and, for certain purposes, self-knowledge. To be autonomous is to author one’s world, and this goes beyond simply being free from obstructions.