This book debates the nature and functions of authority: it
examines how far our inherited images of authority derive from an
aristocratic and traditional order and considers which models of
authority are still relevant in a democratic and rationalist
society. It discusses the characteristics of the authority
relationship, whether political authority differs from other kinds
of authority, how authority relates to power and whether authority
should be distinguished from the concept of legitimate rule. The
latter part of the book explores the relevance or irrelevance of
authority in contemporary society. In particular it examines recent
libertarian arguments for the rejection of all forms of authority
and the special problems of creating and maintaining authority
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