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The Problem of Political Authority: An Examination of the Right to Coerce and the Duty to Obey
 
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The Problem of Political Authority: An Examination of the Right to Coerce and the Duty to Obey [Format Kindle]

Michael Huemer
5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)

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Présentation de l'éditeur

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.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 1448 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 395 pages
  • Pagination - ISBN de l'édition imprimée de référence : 1137281650
  • Editeur : Palgrave Macmillan (29 octobre 2012)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B00AINH80O
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
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  • Word Wise: Non activé
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
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5.0 étoiles sur 5 brilliant 7 octobre 2013
Par Massin
Format:Broché
At once funny, provocative, clear, honest and rigorous, it is really a superb book, that addresses the problem you see coming exactly when you see them coming, making it both an easy and fascinating read. I used to regret that political philosophers lack the straightforwardness of analytical metaphysicians...Michael Huemer might be the David Armstrong's of political philosophy !
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Amazon.com: 4.8 étoiles sur 5  26 commentaires
94 internautes sur 99 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 The best book of libertarian political philosophy around 18 janvier 2013
Par Bryan Caplan - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
I've read almost every work of libertarian political philosophy ever written. This is simply the best book in the genre.

What's so great about it? Simple: Huemer scrupulously reasons from widely shared moral premises to surprising conclusions. There's no question begging, no obscurantism, and no bullet biting. The book begins by pointing out that if a private individual acted like a government, almost everyone would consider his behavior immoral. He then charitably considers all the major attempts to defend this asymmetry.

If you'd like to learn more about political views you disagree with, *The Problem of Political Authority* is ideal. Huemer earnestly tries to engage thoughtful readers of all descriptions. He toes no party line, makes no ad hominems, and never hectors. He's just a very smart, broadly knowledgeable scholar making a careful case for a controversial conclusion.

P.S. If you want to know more about Huemer's intellectual qualities before you buy, check out his TED talk:[...]
25 internautes sur 25 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 In succeeding to be clear, calm, dispassionate and fair, the book informs but fails to inspire. 7 janvier 2013
Par Amazon Customer - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
'...a gripping page-turner. With an engaging style and sharp wit...' are among the first words of the first editorial review currently on amazon's page for this book. Oh cruel fate that I believed those words! Having, with an increasing sense of duty, slogged through to the end, I can only conclude they were written as a delicious prank, or a throwaway by a friend of the author compensating for an inability to find time to read a worthy tome. Sadly, despite the book's considerable strengths, its merits did not include being a page turner with style and wit.

Michael Huemer is an anarchist philosopher. Like most anarchists, he is struck by the compelling virtue of anarchist ideas and their value for healing our world. Unlike some anarchists, he also seems well aware of how completely crazy anarchist ideas can seem to the uninitiated. Being perceived as crazy doesn't help communication, even if you are right. This careful, sober and sedate presentation can strike nobody as crazy, though the quiet presentation cloaks incendiary ideas.

This book's strength is not in its ability to grip the reader, nor in new concepts, for the ideas it raises are discussed in great detail in many other places. Rather the book's value is in its up to date presentation of the core elements of the anarchist canon and the care Dr. Huemer has taken to present those ideas in ways that would be accessible to the average intelligent adult, without condescending or sacrificing clarity and rigour. I marked many of Dr. Huemer's formulations to use in my own conversations. Dr. Huemer is also at scrupulous pains to understand opposing arguments and present them, not as straw men, but as the way they'd want to be presented. He is then polite and almost apologetic as he demolishes them.

While many anarchist authors burn with enthusiasm, the electric power of their ideas sparking off the page, Dr. Huemer has tried hard to keep things calm. Converts will be disappointed if, in reading this book, they hope to repeat the power and impact of reading works like Friedman's 'The Machinery of Freedom', Rothbard's 'The Ethics of Liberty' or almost anything by Hoppe. [quick check and, the extensive bibliography at the end of the book has Friedman and Rothbard, but no mention of Hoppe.] If anything, the service provided by Dr. Huemer is in a state of the art presentation of anarchist ideas in a manner so routine and so scrupulously fair as to be completely non-threatening to non-believers.

I regret the decision to publish this worthy book through an expensive, academic publisher. The price, probably triple what it should be for the eBook version (I bought the kindle version), will further reduce this book's reach and impact.

That is unfortunate, for this work of careful craftsmanship and value deserves a wider reach.
20 internautes sur 20 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Possibly the best work in Political Philosophy I have seen. 5 mars 2013
Par Perry E. Metzger - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
The book is a gem, destined to become a classic, and any serious student of the field should have it on their shelf. They should even, dare I say, read it.

The topic that Humer’s astonishing tour de force concerns itself with is the moral and ethical underpinnings of state power, an area known in political philosophy as the "problem of political authority".

In considering the justification for the state, a nagging question naturally arises. Most people would claim it is morally impermissible for your neighbor to force you to give money to a charity of his choice at gunpoint. However, in stark contrast, most people would claim it is permissible for the state to do essentially the same thing, that is, to extort taxes from you using the threat of force in order to spend those funds on projects other than your own.

Most people appear to claim there is an important difference between these cases — otherwise, they would not believe in the legitimacy of the state.

The eponymous problem of political authority is the question of what the distinction between these cases might be — on what basis, if any, might we justify this difference in treatment between the behavior we consider ethically justified from individual actors versus the power we accord to the state.

Huemer systematically addresses the justifications that have been articulated for political authority over the centuries, from hypothetical social contract theory to consequentialism and everything in between. I will give away the punchline by noting that his arguments would appear to fatally damage all of them.

Political philosophers often start by attempting to construct a complete moral framework within which they justify their positions. Huemer takes an entirely different approach. He does not assume that we all agree on a single universal moral framework. He only assumes that most of us generally share similar moral intuitions about certain sorts of situations in the average case. (The strongest sort of assumption he demands is that his reader agree that beating people up without provocation is usually bad.)

Because he demands that the reader agree with him on so few things and so weakly, Huemer’s argument gains enormous strength, since there is no need to accept an all-encompassing ethical theory to believe the rest of his arguments.

On the basis of very pedestrian ethical assumptions, Huemer manages to build a case against any moral justification for political authority whatsoever. He engages, attacks and destroys arguments of all sorts with panache. Even John Rawls famous “A Theory of Justice” (perhaps the most cited work written in philosophy in the last century) is mercilessly examined under bright lights and staked through the heart.

One of the book’s greatest strengths is the simplicity and lucidity of his prose. Unlike many of his academic peers, Huemer’s writing is crystal clear and (nearly) jargon free. A bright ten year old would have no difficulty with the language. He does not seek to conceal weakness beneath an avalanche of polysyllabic words and mile long sentences. Instead, he makes his arguments so straightforward to understand that there is little or no room to disagree with him.

I am uncertain as to whether Huemer will persuade many people. As Swift once observed, “it is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into.” Most people hold their political positions not as a result of rational contemplation but because they were exposed to a set of ideas at an early age and have an emotional attachment to them that is not easily altered. The fact that Huemer is arguing for unfamiliar idea that goes against most conventional wisdom is probably more important to the average reader than the razor sharp edge to which he has honed his arguments.

Never the less, in a hypothetical world in which all chose their views on the basis of rational consideration, Huemer would be changing hearts and minds by the trainload.
22 internautes sur 23 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Very thorough, balanced, and in-depth 3 janvier 2013
Par eydelber - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
Finally something that deals with the major thorny issues of political authority, particularly the social contract. The book is incredibly well balanced and deals honestly and directly with opposing theories. It also doesn't pre-suppose some grand theory that anarchists and libertarians usually assert (as you'd guess by the author of Ethical Intuitionism). For people already "sold" on anarcho-capitalism, the second half of the book (which proposes an alternative solution) is very cursory, but at the same time, the approach from the beginning of the book -- of using common sense examples and intuitions to reason about moral and probable solutions and outcomes -- is very enlightening. Overall, this is a great book for on-the-fence libertarians, it's also a great book for non-libertarians since it is so balanced (in considering opposing views), and even for anarcho-capitalists for dealing with major philosophical issues without simple flippant assumptions or remarks.

I'd like to see Dr. Huemer create a webpage which lists all the questions he gets after this book and his responses.
9 internautes sur 9 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 The Most Important Book on Anarchy 29 janvier 2013
Par John Roccia - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Without a doubt, this is the most vital work for anyone serious about libertarian/anarchist philosophy, especially those with an interest of taking their views out of the echo chamber and into the great wide world. Huemer is an ambassador - this book is an instruction manual for how to diplomatically but resolutely convey the views so often seen as fringe at best by the wider populace.

The book is brilliantly written, and someone with virtually no prior knowledge of the material could jump right in. Even though this book is a masterpiece to those who have read everything under the sun about the topic, this could also easily be the only book you ever read about anarchist philosophy and you'd be ready for the debate hall.

If the book has a single flaw, it's a matter of proofreading - I have the Kindle version, and sadly there are numerous jumbles - places where paragraphs or sentences are simply cut off, often to have the end appear randomly inserted in some later pages. There's about a dozen such errors, and they're pretty jarring, though they don't make the book unreadable at all.

Hopefully Huemer hasn't destroyed the genre - but it's entirely possible that no one will want to follow this act for quite some time.
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