Authority and Resistance

Sunday, April 21, 2019

What is it

Authority can refer to people or institutions that have the political power to make decisions, give orders, and enforce rules. It can also refer to a certain kind of expertise or knowledge that we might defer to. Sometimes we respect authority, and sometimes we resist it or even revolt against it. But where exactly does authority come from, and when, if ever, ought we defer to it? How do we challenge authority? What makes an authority figure authoritarian? And can there be anarchist forms of authority? Josh and Ken authorize a conversation with James Martel from San Francisco State University, author of Subverting the Leviathan: Reading Thomas Hobbes as a Radical Democrat.

Comments (1)

Harold G. Neuman's picture

Harold G. Neuman

Friday, April 5, 2019 -- 12:06 PM

John Searle might refer to

John Searle might refer to one application of authority as 'institutional rules'. However, he has said far more than this, as you well know. Authority has been around, for as long as humans knew they had to achieve order, in order to have anything like social stability. Much of this consciousness gained traction and codification through the Church and its own institutional rules. Humans, now, can think for themselves, more clearly and logically than two thousand years ago---they do not need 'voices; oracles; muses and (or) gods to tell them what to do'---bicameralism* is, as a practical matter, 'comaTOAST'. Authority is in a heap of trouble, seems to me... (*see also, Julian Jaynes) Maybe Ken SHOULD run for president?; philosophers and kings, kings and philosophers and all that...



James Martel, Professor of Political Science, San Francisco State University


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