Anarchism and Authority: A Philosophical Introduction to by Paul McLaughlin

Anarchism and Authority: A Philosophical Introduction to by Paul McLaughlin

By Paul McLaughlin

Interpreting the political concept of anarchism from a philosophical and historic point of view, Paul McLaughlin relates anarchism to the basic moral and political challenge of authority. The ebook will pay specific awareness to the authority of the kingdom and the anarchist rejection of all conventional claims made for the legitimacy of kingdom authority, the writer either explaining and protecting the imperative tenets of the anarchist critique of the state.The founding works of anarchist concept, by means of Godwin, Proudhon and Stirner, are explored and anarchism is tested in its ancient context, together with the impression of such occasions because the Enlightenment and the French Revolution on anarchist suggestion. ultimately, the main 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 considering and a lucid and well-reasoned defence of the anarchist philosophy.

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Roland Pennock and John W. Chapman (eds), Anarchism (New York, 1978), pp. 3, 6, 13. The list of ‘simplistic definitions’ in the text is a summary of pp. 4–6 of Clark’s paper. 2 Clark conflates non-authoritarianism and anti-authoritarianism in his definition. We will assume that he has a non-authoritarian ideal in mind (the context indicates that this must be the case), and will return to anti-authoritarianism below. Anarchism and Authority 26 social anarchists, who believe in ‘the human capacity for mutual aid, cooperation, respect, and communal relationships’, and individualist anarchists, who believe in the centrality of ‘rational self-interest’ or even ‘ruthless egoism’.

The title of the chapter from which these lines are quoted is, appropriately, ‘Descartes: Conqueror of Scepticism’. 24 Descartes, Discourse on Method, p. 38. Emphasis added. 25 In other words, it centred on a socio-political scepticism, on profound doubt about the moral foundations of the social order itself – not on epistemological doubt as such. Scepticism of a socio-political – or fundamentally ethical – nature has classical origins in Socratic thought. Socrates is a sceptic (skeptikos) in the authentic sense: a provocative examiner of the powers that be, a moral inquirer into conventional wisdom.

36 Anarchism and Authority which case it isn’t sceptical at all – or attempts to vindicate or provide a ‘certain foundation’ for a more or less limited form of it – in which case it has more in common with Cartesian (anti-)scepticism than anarchist scepticism. Accordingly, liberals like Wilhelm von Humboldt are concerned to set limits to ‘legitimate government’, while anarchists, influenced, as we will see, by Rousseau, are interested in the very legitimacy of the institution, limited or otherwise.

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