The Concept of Political Authority

Andres Rosler

in Political Authority and Obligation in Aristotle

Published in print March 2005 | ISBN: 9780199251506
Published online April 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191602306 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Aristotle Studies Series

 The Concept of Political Authority

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It is not unusual for Aristotelian scholars to claim that Aristotle does not have a notion of authority. The argument that insurmountable conceptual-historical barriers make it impossible for a Greek thinker to have something even similar to authority (which is, in turn, allegedly a Roman concept at best, ignored by the Greek world) is usually put forward to deny the existence of such a concept in Aristotle. This chapter argues that this type of objection often mistakes the existence of a concept for the existence of a single word or expression used to convey such concept and that Aristotle’s texts are no stranger to a discernible concept of political authority. The claim that Aristotle does not have the notion of political authority is often tied in with a misunderstanding of the concept of authority itself. Once we get to the bottom of the concept of authority as employed by contemporary jurisprudence, it is fairly clear that Aristotle does accommodate such notion. Special consideration is given to the bearing of Hobbesian and Lockean accounts of authority upon Aristotle’s politics.

Keywords: authority; autonomy; Hobbes; Locke; practical reason

Chapter.  15780 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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