Las Torres de Lucca. International Journal of Political Philosophy, Vol 4, No 7 (2015)

Some keys to reread authority.

Edgar Straehle


This article vindicates a rereading of the concept of authority and tries to dissociate this concept from the concept of power in order to undo their identification and thereby the oblivion of the specific nature (or the history) of authority. Besides, this rereading must not be confused with an apology of authority but with an exploration about this complicated and ambivalent category. The key point of this distinction lies in that authority, unlike power, depends not on itself but on the other person, the person who acknowledges another one as authority. Therefore, authority can be compatible with freedom and can appear as an exteriority of power, which undermines it or even becomes a counterpower. Hence the logical endeavours of power to monopolize and instrumentalize authority.