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The Role of Authority


Scott Hershovitz


University of Michigan Law School

May 25, 2010

Philosophers' Imprint, Forthcoming
U of Michigan Public Law Working Paper No. 201

Abstract:     
The most influential account of authority – Joseph Raz's service conception – is an account of the role of authority, in that it is an account of its point or function. However, authority does not have a characteristic role to play, and even if it did, the ability to play a role is not, by itself, sufficient to establish authority. The aim of this essay is to shift our focus from roles that authority plays to roles that people play – which we can also call roles of authority – such as chef, teacher, and parent. To justify authority, we need to justify the practices in which roles of authority play a part.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 50

Keywords: Authority, Roles, Joseph Raz, Stephen Darwall

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Date posted: May 25, 2010 ; Last revised: May 29, 2010

Suggested Citation

Hershovitz, Scott, The Role of Authority (May 25, 2010). Philosophers' Imprint, Forthcoming; U of Michigan Public Law Working Paper No. 201. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1615675

Contact Information

Scott Hershovitz (Contact Author)
University of Michigan Law School ( email )
625 South State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1215
United States

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