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On authority
On authority

Author(s): Christo Todorov
Subject(s): Philosophy
Published by: Фондация за хуманитарни и социални изследвания - София
Keywords: authority; politics; Enlightenment philosophy; epistemic; deontic; Rome

Summary/Abstract: This article takes as its starting point Hannah Arendt’s understanding of authority according to which authority is a historically unique political phenomenon characteristic of ancient Rome, which disappeared with the downfall of Rome. Examining the non-political forms of authority, which Arendt considers to be insignificant, the semantic structure of the concept of authority is analyzed and a wider understanding of authority is formulated. The distinction between ‘epistemic’ and ‘deontic’ authority is used in the analysis to reveal the ambiguity of this concept. An overview is then presented of the critique of authority in Enlightenment philosophy and of the critique of this critique. Finally, a general understanding of authority, which can be applied also to political authority in the modern age, is formulated. At the heart of this understanding is the idea of the temporary and in principle contestable character of contemporary political authorities.

  • Issue Year: 2010
  • Issue No: 35
  • Page Range: 127-135
  • Page Count: 9
  • Language: English