Authority and Reason

Joseph Raz

in The Morality of Freedom

Published in print September 1988 | ISBN: 9780198248071
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598289 | DOI:

Series: Clarendon Paperbacks

 Authority and Reason

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This chapter addresses the question: what is authority? Authority cannot simply be regarded as a right to rule, as Robert Ladenson has claimed. The recognitional conception of authority, which regards authoritative utterances as reasons to believe that one has a reason to act as instructed, fails to explain why authoritative utterances are also reasons for action. The inspirational conception of authority describes authority in terms of love, but this conception cannot account for authorities that are not ‘loved’ by those whom it rules, nor can it account for the conceptual distinctness of love and authority. Authoritative utterances provide content independent reasons for action, as do promises, threats, offers, and requests, in the sense that there is no direct connection between the reason and the action for which it is a reason.

Keywords: action; authority; Ladenson; love; reasons

Chapter.  5854 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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