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The Problem of Political Authority
 
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The Problem of Political Authority
An Examination of the Right to Coerce and the Duty to Obey
 
 
Palgrave Macmillan
 
 
 
 
 
29 Oct 2012
|
£79.00
|Hardback In Stock
  
9781137281647
||
 
 
29 Oct 2012
|
£26.50
|Paperback In Stock
  
9781137281654
||
 
 
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DescriptionReviewsContentsAuthors

Modern states commonly deploy coercion in a wide array of circumstances in which the resort to force would clearly be wrong for any private agent. What entitles the state to behave in this manner? And why should citizens obey its commands? This book examines theories of political authority, from the social contract theory, to theories of democratic authorization, to fairness- and consequence-based theories. Ultimately, no theory of authority succeeds, and thus no government has the kind of authority often ascribed to governments.

The author goes on to discuss how voluntary and competitive institutions could provide the central goods for the sake of which the state is often deemed necessary, including law, protection from private criminals, and national security. An orderly and liveable society thus does not require acquiescence in the illusion of political authority.


Description

Modern states commonly deploy coercion in a wide array of circumstances in which the resort to force would clearly be wrong for any private agent. What entitles the state to behave in this manner? And why should citizens obey its commands? This book examines theories of political authority, from the social contract theory, to theories of democratic authorization, to fairness- and consequence-based theories. Ultimately, no theory of authority succeeds, and thus no government has the kind of authority often ascribed to governments.

The author goes on to discuss how voluntary and competitive institutions could provide the central goods for the sake of which the state is often deemed necessary, including law, protection from private criminals, and national security. An orderly and liveable society thus does not require acquiescence in the illusion of political authority.


Reviews

'Huemer has produced not just a brilliant work of political philosophy, but a gripping page-turner. With an engaging style and sharp wit, Huemer demolishes two entrenched dogmas: that we have a duty to obey the law, and the state has the right to force us to obey. Huemer's conclusions may be controversial, but he makes them seem like commonsense.'
- Jason Brennan, Georgetown University, USA

'Michael Huemer is my favorite philosopher. The Problem of Political Authority is his best book yet. Using moral premises you probably already accept, and clear but subtle arguments, Huemer leads you step-by-step to a radical yet compelling conclusion: government as we know it is an unnecessary evil. If you're tired of political books that merely preach to the choir, prepare to be amazed.'
- Bryan Caplan, George Mason University, USA


Contents

Analytical Contents
Preface
PART I:THE ILLUSION OF AUTHORITY
The Problem of Political Authority
The Traditional Social Contract Theory
The Hypothetical Social Contract Theory
The Authority of Democracy
Consequentialism and Fairness
The Psychology of Authority
What If There Is No Authority?
PART II: SOCIETY WITHOUT AUTHORITY
Evaluating Social Theories
The Logic of Predation
Individual Security in a Stateless Society
Criminal Justice and Dispute Resolution
War and Societal Defense
From Democracy to Anarchy
References
Index


Authors

MICHAEL HUEMER is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Colorado at Boulder, USA, where he has worked since 1998. He is the author of Skepticism and the Veil of Perception and Ethical Intuitionism, as well as more than 40 articles in ethics, epistemology, political philosophy, and metaphysics.