Anarchism and Authority: A Philosophical Introduction to by Paul McLaughlin

By Paul McLaughlin

Studying the political conception of anarchism from a philosophical and old viewpoint, Paul McLaughlin relates anarchism to the basic moral and political challenge of authority. The publication can pay specific realization to the authority of the kingdom and the anarchist rejection of all conventional claims made for the legitimacy of country authority, the writer either explaining and protecting the significant tenets of the anarchist critique of the state.The founding works of anarchist notion, by way of Godwin, Proudhon and Stirner, are explored and anarchism is tested in its old context, together with the impression of such occasions because the Enlightenment and the French Revolution on anarchist inspiration. eventually, the foremost theoretical advancements of anarchism from the late-nineteenth century to the current are summarized and evaluated.This ebook is either a hugely readable account of the improvement of anarchist pondering and a lucid and well-reasoned defence of the anarchist philosophy.

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76. Emphasis added. De George’s book is particularly valuable in its classification of forms of authority and its understanding of anarchism. Though I have reservations about a number of his points, I will refer to it throughout the remainder of Part 1. 30) The response to a child’s (or younger party’s) query of a command in this case is ‘Because I’m your elder’. This form of authority is rejected by most anarchists on the grounds that the relative age (and, presumably, ‘wisdom’) of the elder is no guarantee of benevolent intent on its part; the elder may well be motivated by self-interest.

11 George Woodcock, Anarchism: A History of Libertarian Ideas and Movements (Harmondsworth, 1975), p. 7. Despite this false characterization of anarchists, Woodcock does not define anarchism as anti-authoritarianism. In point of fact, he criticizes Sébastien Faure’s anti-authoritarian definition (‘Whoever denies authority and fights against it is an anarchist’) – not for being false, but for being simplistic. , p. ’, p. 6]. From our perspective, this formulation (though not necessarily Woodcock’s specific interpretation) seems preferable to Clark’s in that it implies some degree of priority of criticism over ‘idealism’.

It is this that we turn to now, before examining the historical origins of anarchism, both in general terms – in terms of the climate that gave rise to it – and in textual terms – in terms of the seminal writings in which it gained original expression. This textual dimension of our philosophical study is significant, for anarchism is not a mere temperament associated with a number of more or less peculiar individuals, but a position articulated with some sophistication by a number of significant philosophers in some outstanding theoretical works.

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