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The Morality of Freedom$
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Joseph Raz

Print publication date: 1988

Print ISBN-13: 9780198248071

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198248075.001.0001

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Authority and Reason

Authority and Reason

Chapter:
(p.23) 2 Authority and Reason
Source:
The Morality of Freedom
Author(s):

Joseph Raz (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0198248075.003.0002

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

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