Legitimate Authority


The Paradoxes悖論


The study of the concept of authority has to confront two major prob­lems of intellectual origin:



The methodological problem of how to avoid confusing the various quite distinct problems involving the notion of authority



and the problem of the paradoxes of authority.



To be subjected to authority, it is argued, is incompatible with reason



For reason requires that one should always act on the balance of reasons of which one is aware.

理性要求的是 斟酌考量


It is of the nature of authority that it requires submission even when one thinks that what is required is against reason. Therefore, sub­mission to authority is irrational.



The principle of auton­omy entails action on one's own judgment on all moral questions. Since authority sometimes requires action against one's own judg­ment, it requires abandoning one's moral autonomy.


Since all practical questions may involve moral considerations, all practical authority denies moral autonomy and is consequently immoral.




They challenge the possibility of legitimate, justified, de jure(合法性) authority. Their paradoxical nature derives not from their denial of legitimate authority but from the fact that the denial is alleged to derive from the very nature of morality or from fundamental principles of rationality.



The arguments challenge the legitimacy not only of political authority but of all authority over rational persons.   



If the very concepts of morality and rationality are incom­patible with that of authority, then even the sceptic will be able to know that all authority is immoral and submission to it is irrational.



I shall try to show why the concept of authority gives rise to the apparent paradoxes and why they are merely appar­ent.

我LAZ 試圖說明權威概念會製造表面的矛盾,及它們僅僅是表面上的而已。


 A Methodological Detour 方法論的遶道

Modern authors have avoided this confusion, but discussion of the subject is still bedevilled with many methodological confusions. I shall describe briefly four of the common types of explan­ation and try to point to the lessons to be learned from their shortcomings.



The first standard explanation consists in specifying the conditions that are in fact either necessary or sufficient for hold­ing effective (de facto) 事實authority.

第一種    說明 有事實權威的必要或充分條件


But they fail altogether to explain what these condi­tions are for, what it is to have authority or to be in authority.

但 此說法卻無法解釋,條件的原因與處於權威或有權威是甚麼意思。




The second type of explanation attempts to elucidate the nature of authority by describing the necessary or sufficient conditions for the holding oflegitimate (de jure)合法性 authority.

第二種    描述有合法性權威的必要性或充分條件


According to it the concept of authority is to be explained by explaining how claims to authority can be justified.




We certainly need authority to per­form some actions but not others, and it appears, at least prima facie, that to say that one has a certain authority is to indicate that one could be either justified or capable of doing certain actions, without committing oneself in any way as to the nature of that justification.



Here lies the major problem of justificative analyses of authority. None has so far succeeded in delineating the type of argument invocation of which is tantamount to a claim of authority.



Richard Tuck has suggested that citations of political authority are statements designed to kill criticism of a political action but are not authentic justifications.



They are based on the claim that (1) the action proposed or performed is right if somebody performs it; (2) it is neither right nor wrong that the person for whom authority is claimed should be that somebody; (3) that person in fact performed the action or pro­poses to do so.

是基於以下要求 1 如果被某人履行,則計劃或是提議的行為就是正確的

2 權威對於是否是此人無關緊要 3 此人事實上已履行該行為,或計畫去作。


Many will share Tuck's belief that nobody has a right to a position of (political) authority and that the only way to jus­tify political authority is by the use of arguments of the type he outlines.

許多人贊同 tuck: 無人有權處於權威地位,及證明政治權威之唯一方式是要利用他的方式。



some people have a right and a duty by nature or by reason to rule. Such people, let us assume, are wrong. But are they also guilty of misusing language

但有些人生而擁有統治的權利和義務,以tuck 理論來看 是語言上的錯誤。


Is the mistake one of moral and political theory, or is it also a mistake about the meaning of words, about the concept of authority?


One has to show that claim­ing authority on any other grounds is a misuse of language.




It must explain what one has when one has authority. This strongly suggests that authority is an ability to perform certain kinds of action." The analysis I have proposed here is meant to vindicate this suggestion.

(對權威)之解釋必須說明某人有合法性權威的條件,還必須說明有權威的實益,即權威是實施某些行為的能力 我LAZ所建議的分析將是支持此一說法。


3 One popular theory that regards authority as ability to perform certain kinds of action identifies effective (de facto)有效 authority with power over people.

第三種    權威作為某些實施行為的能力,證明有效權威與能力有關。

But it is a different notion of power that is involved here. According to it to have power is to have influence, to be able to influ­ence people's actions and their fortunes.  但此處所指的權力與其他不同,這的權力是指影響力,能影響人的行為及命運


A person has effect­ive authority if he is powerful, if he can influence people's fate and their choices or options." Legitimate authority can then be defined as justified effective authority.



The notion of legitimate authority is in fact the primary one. For one thing not all legitimate authority is effective. Besides (as I will claim shortly), the notion of effective authority cannot be explained except by reference to legitimate authority.



The notion of legitimate authority is presup­posed by that of effective authority. A person needs more than power (as influence) to have de facto authority. He must either claim that he has legitimate authority or be held by others to have legitimate authority.



The brute use of force to get one's way and the same done with a claim of right. Only the latter can qualify as an effective or de facto authority.




4........... that a person has authority means that there is a system of rules, which confers authority on him,which confers authority on him.

第四種    某人擁有權威意謂存在著一個規則體系,且將權威授權與他。



It states that people have authority only when it is conferred on them by some rules. But it does not provide any means of deciding which rules con­fer authority and which do not.



The claim that all authority is conferred by rules is itself debatable. It is difficult to maintain that when a member of the public assumes authority in an emergency (for example, a fire in a theatre) his authority derives from any rules.




If there are two systems of rules according to one of which a certain person has authority whereas according to the other he does not, then he both has and does not have authority. To avoid such a contradiction the proposed definition must be rel­ativized.



Ill. The Simple Explanation 簡單解釋


To make this assump­tion clear we can further amend his definition and say that X has authority over Y if his saying, 'Let Yψ, is a reason for Y to ψ Let us call this the simple analysis.

為使假定更清晰,我們修正(lucas之定義),如果X讓Y作ψ 是Y作ψ的理由,也就是X對Y有權威了。這就是簡單的分析(解釋)。


Two comments are in place here. 有兩點要說

First, I do not claim that authority can be explained only in terms of reasons.



Second, a great variety of things are called reasons.




It is in terms of complete reasons that the attempt to analyze authority will be made." I shall argue below that the simple explanation fails.




To distinguish adequately between intentional and non-intentional exercise of authority and that it does not pay attention to the distinction between being an authority and having authority. It also overlooks the fact that one needs authority to grant permissions and to confer powers.



But first I shall examine some more far-reaching objections to it.



IV. First Objection to the Simple Explanation 簡單解釋的第一個批判


But are authoritative utterances prima facie reasons? Com­pare an order with a request and both with advice.



All three are identified by the attitudes, beliefs, and intentions of their source, not by the way they are received by their addressee.

這三者辨認上取決於發出者的 態度、信念、意圖,而非接受者的接受方式。


the adviser must intend his giving the advice to be taken as a reason to believe that what he says is true, correct, or justified. But he does not necessarily intend it to be taken as a reason for action, even though it may be the case that his giving the advice is a valid reason for action for the recipient."



.....That a man issuing an order always intends it to be a very weighty rea­son and that is not always the case when people make requests.



Apart from the fact that some requests are made with such an intention, this explanation seems unsatisfactory because it relies on an alleged difference in degree.


of this objection is that one requires author­ity to be entitled to command but one does not



My point is not that everyone is enti­tled to request.我不認為所有人有權提出要求。


My point is that the fact that one is entitled to request does not entail that one has authority over the addressee of the request.



That one is entitled to command entails that one has authority over the addressee of the command.


A request: made by a per­son entitled to make it is a valid (prima facie) reason or its addressee. 有權提出要求的人所提出的要求,是對接收者有效(首要)的行為理由。


Similarly a command issued by a person entitled to issue it is valid.


If we are to say no more than that: a valid com­mand is a reason for its addressee, then we fail to explain the difference between a command and a request and the reason for which only entitlement to the first.



 V Second Objection to the Simple Explanation 第二個對簡單解釋的批判

The first objection was based on an argument to the effect that if authority is ability to change reasons by certain utterances, then the utterances of authority are more than prima facie yet less than absolute reasons, which is an impossibility.

第一種批判 大概是,如果根據特定言辭,權威是改變行為理由的能力,而言辭是首要行為理由好過於絕對的行為理由是不可能的。


The second objection is based on an argument to the effect that the utter­ances of (legitimate) authority though often reasons for action need not always be so. It consists of an appeal to our intuition based on a counter-example.

第二種批判 主要是說:合法性權威言辭常是行為理由,但不必總是這樣,它也可能來自於我們的直覺。




I am driving my car in flat country with perfect visibility and there is no other human being, animal, or car for miles around me. I come to a traffic light showing red. Do I have any reason to stop?



Many will say that there is not even the slightest reason to stop at the red light in such circumstances. They insist that this in no way contradicts their acknowledgement of the legitimate authority of those who made the traffic regula­tions.



This example seems sufficient to convince one that in this case or a similar case the utterances of authority can be held to be legitimate without holding them to constitute reasons for action.



I think that these objections are sufficient to undermine the simple explanation and yet the simple explanation is right in its basic insight-that authority is ability to change reasons for action. 我認為這些批判可以侵蝕簡單解釋,可是簡單解釋的基調是正確的,                即權威是種改變行為理由的能力。




[1] 悖論:詭局或詭辯,是指導致一種矛盾、弔詭的概念。從某種角度是對的;而從另種角度又是錯的。




VI. Normative Power



      His (the father’s ) instruc­tion to obey the mother is, therefore, a reason to act for a rea­son ( the mother’s instruction).  I shall call a reason to act for a reason a positive second-order reason.


      There are also negative second-­order reasons, that is, reasons to refrain from acting for a rea­son (he orders his son not to act on his mother's orders). I shall call negative second-order reasons exclusionary reasons.


      There is one important point to bear in mind concerning second-order reasons: they are reasons for action, the actions concerned being acting for a reason and not acting for a reason.


      If is a reason toψthen acting tor the reason that P isψ-ing for the reason that P.  Not acting for is notψ-ing for the reason that P. This is compatible with ψ-ing for some other reason as well as with notψ-ing at all.


One may fail to act on a reason because one does not know of its existence.


the father tells him (the son) not merely to do what she tells him to do but also to do it for the rea­son that she tells him so.


when the father tells his son not to obey his mother, he is not telling him never to do what his mother tells him to do but merely never to take her instructions as reasons for action.


...... the fact that is a reason (the father's order) for disregarding certain rea­sons (the mother's instruction) forψ-ing (wearing the coat) is



different from any fact that is a reason (the coat's ugliness) for notψ-ing.


But sometimes the same fact is both a reason for an action and an (exclusionary) reason for disregarding reasons against it.  I shall call such facts protected reasons for an action.


   I will define normative power as ability to change protected reasons.


      An act is the exercise of a normative power if there is sufficient reason for regarding it either as a protected reason or as cancelling protected rea­sons and if the reason for so regarding it is that it is desirable to enable people to change protected reasons by such acts, if they wish to do SO.


I shall assume that power is used by making what I shall call 'power-utterances'.


The first is by issuing an exclusionary instruction, that is, by using power to tell a person to tP,the power-utterance is a reason for that person to tP and also a second-order reason for not acting on (all or some) reasons for notψ-ing. Exclusionary instructions are, therefore, protected reasons.


The second way of exercising power is by making a power-utterance grant­ing permission to perform an action hitherto prohibited by an exclusionary instruction. I shall call such permissions 'can­celling permissions' for they cancel exclusionary reasons.


The third form of using power is by conferring power on a person. This does not in itself change protected reasons, but it ena­bles a person to change them. The power a person has can be restricted in many ways-in the way it can be exercised, the per­sons over whom it is held, the actions with respect to which the power-holder can make power-utterances, and so forth.




VII. Power and Authority權力和權威

...... we can divide powers into powers over oneself (the power to undertake voluntary obligations) and pow­ers over others (the authority over them) .


There is one exception ...... a person has authority over himself.  This is a degenerate case of authority: an exten­sion by analogy from the central cases of authority over others.


One of the main obstacles to an analysis of authority is the frequent failure to distinguish between authority to perform an action and authority over persons.



      the source of a person's authority to perform an act must have power to confer it, but he need not have authority over the per­son on whom he confers authority. (like the signing cheques case)


We can now define X has authority toψas: there is some Y and there is some Z such that,


(1)     Y permitted X toψor gave him power to do so


(2)     Y has power to do so


(3)       X’sψ-ing will affect the interests of Z and Y has authority over Z.



Y→ 債權人;X→ Y之代理人 ; ψ→要求履行債務的行動;Z→債務人



Y→ 政府;X→ 公權力受託人 ; ψ→ 為行政處分;Z→ 一般人民




VIII. Refuting the Objections對於反對意見的反駁

Refuting the Fist objection第一個反對意見的反駁

It is, however, important to see that authority can be exercised without the person having authority intending to invoke it (with orders or requests).


Advice, whatever the hopes or the adviser may be, is given with the intention that its utterance will he taken as a reason for belief, not for action.


  ... the recipient of the advice may regard it: as both a reason for action and an exclusionary rea­son for disregarding conflicting reasons.



If he follow the advice given without trying to work out whether it indicates reasons that tip the balance, he is in fact excluding all the conflicting reasons of which he is aware from his considerations. ...... the advice (is) both as a reason to perform the action he was advised to perform and for not acting on conflicting reasons.


......the advice he received to be a pro­tected reason, even though advice is not given with an intention to be taken as a protected reason.


Orders, on the other hand, are given with the intention that their addressees shall take them as protected reasons.  They (People) are entitled to do so (give orders) only if they have authority (power) over the addressee with respect to the subject-matter of the order.


The order may be a valid first-order reason for performing the act even if it is not a valid exclusionary reason not to act on conflict­ing reasons, and it may be both even though the person who issued it has no authority to do so.


But it always is a valid first­-order reason and an exclusionary reason if he has the authority to give it.


They (exclusionary reasons) may not exclude certain conflicting reasons, and when this is the case one must decide what to do on the balance of the non-excluded first-order reasons, including the order itself as one prima facie reason for the performance.......


What then is the difference between an exclusionary rea­son and a first-order reason of a weight sufficient to override all the conflicting reasons that are excluded by the exclusion­ary reason and no others?


First, exclusionary reasons exclude by kind and not by weight. They may exclude all the reasons of a certain kind (economic welfare) ..., including very weighty reasons, while not excluding even trivial consid­erations belonging to another kind (honour)...



Second, regardless of the different impact of exclu­sionary and weighty reasons on what ought to be done, all things considered, they also differ in the way we view them. Some facts are weighty reasons overriding conflicting reasons; others are not to be compared with conflicting reasons. Their impact is not to change the balance of reasons but to exclude action on the balance of reasons.

第二,忽略排他性理由和具分量的理由在應該怎麼做這件事的影響,把所有事情都納入考慮,也因為我們的觀點而有不同。某些事實是凌駕於相衝突理由的有分量理由,其他則並不與相衝突理由做比較 (黑體這句我看不懂) 。它們的影響並不改變理由間的平衡,而是排除了基於理由間的平衡而行動。

This difference in function...... explains the difference between orders and requests.The difference is not in importance but: in mode of operation.


A request is made with the intention that it shall be taken as a reason for action and be acceded to only if it tips the balance.


Orders are made with the intention that they should prevail in certain circumstances even if they do not tip the balance.


風行草偃:風吹向草原,草是無法不低頭的,這並非是風強迫草低頭,而是低頭在此事對草而言是不可能的→ prevail(直譯是戰勝)指做出某事而引發某種結果,卻又不是強迫後者所為,類似的狀況如:渴了要喝水,餓了要進食等(這樣的例子其實還沒有風行草偃貼切)

They are intended to be taken as reasons for excluding certain others that may tip the balance against performing that action.


Having assumed that the difference between them lies in their practical implications, I submit that it consists in the fact that orders but not requests are protected reasons.


There is a minimum that an order must exclude to be an order. It must at least exclude considerations of the recipient's present desires.



When such considerations (obeying would lead to a strong moral reason for not doing so or severely damage the recipient’s interests or be unlawful) amount to a justification and lead the agent not to follow the order, he cannot be said to have obeyed it but neither did he dis­obey it. It was not intended that he should follow it in such cir­cumstances.

當這樣的思考(服從會導致不這麼做的強烈道德理由或嚴重傷害接受者的利益或使其不合法)等同justification,以及導致這個人不跟從命令,那就不能說他有服從命令,也不能說他沒有服從。命令並不希望他在這樣的環境 下要服從。

...it is never a justification that the agent had a desire, however strong, for something inconsistent with his fol­lowing the order.


...one who commands is not merely trying to change the balance (of reasons) by adding a reason for the action. He is also trying to create a situation in which the addressee will do wrong to act on the balance of reasons. He is replacing his authority for the addressee's judgment on the balance.



Refuting the second objection第二個反對意見的反駁

We can go further than that (one accepts the legitimacy of an authority one is committed to following the authority regard­less of one's view of the merits of the case, that is, blindly) and say that sometimes the very rea­sons that justify the setting up of an authority also justify follow­ing it blindly in a stronger sense--that is, following it without even attempting to form a judgment on the merits.


And if he is to inquire in this case (the traffic light case), he has to inquire in many other cases. ......for we know in advance what the merits are and forget that he has to find that out, and not only now but in many other cases as well.



IX. Dissolving the Paradoxes消除矛盾


 I shall examine the paradoxes as presented by Robert Paul Wolff: 'Men', he says 'can forfeit their autonomy at will. That is to say, a man can decide to obey the commands of another without making any attempt to determine for himself whether what is commanded is good or wise'.

我要檢查Robert Paul Wolff提出的矛盾:「人」,他這麼說:「能在意志上喪失他們的自主性。這是說一個人能決定去服從另一個人的命令而不試著決定那命令對他來說是好的或明智的。」

Wolff is making two valid and important points here.


    (1)Because an order is always given with the intention that it be taken as both an exclusionary reason and a first-order rea­son, its addressee has more options than either to disregard the order altogether or to obey it as he was intended. He may hold it to be a valid first-order reason, given the circumstances of its utterance, while denying that it is an exclusionary reason.

因為命令總是以希望同時被採取為一個排他性理由和一個第一階理由的方式而提出,比起完全忽略命令或依其所希望地被服從,他的接受者有更多選擇。他可能將命令做為一個有效的第一階理由,given the circumstances of its utterance,而否認其是一個排他性理由。

(2) This means that an anarchist can reject the legitimacy of all authority while giving some weight to the instructions of de facto authorities.



Wolff ......correctly assumes that reason never justifies abandoning one's autonomy, that is, ones right and duty to act on one's judgment of what ought to be done, all things con­sidered. I shall call this the principle of autonomy.

Wolff 正確地假設理由永不會證立出放棄一個人的自主性,也就是,一個人,考慮到所有東西,基於其自身的、什麼應該被完成的判斷而行動的權利和義務。我稱之為自主性原則。

Wolff wrongly assumes that this is identical with the false principle that there are no valid exclusionary reasons, that is, that one is never justified in not doing what ought to be done on the balance of first-order reasons. I shall call this the denial of authority.

Wolff 錯誤地假設其乃是以不存在有效的排他性理由的錯誤原則而被區別出來,也就是,一個人永不會是有道理的,當其基於第一階理由的平衡而不做應該被完成的事。我稱之為權威的否認。

If all valid reasons are first-order reasons then it is a necessary truth that the principle of autonomy entails the denial of authority, for then what ought to be done all things considered is identical with what ought to be done on the balance of first-order reasons. But since there could in principle be valid second-order reasons, there is noth­ing in the principle of autonomy that requires the rejection of all authority.







The Authority of Law

第二章  The Claims of law 法律的宣稱

Can the very abstract analysis of authority in the previous essay be applied to the law?...... Two preliminary objections must be tackled first.


  1. It is a popular view that the law enjoys de facto or effective authority. Its analysis involves these concepts but not necessar­ily that of a legitimate authority.



This is a mistake. To hold that a government is defacto government is to concede that its claim to be government de jure is acknowledged by a sufficient num­ber of sufficiently powerful people to assure it of control over a certain area.



A common factor in all kinds of effective authority is that they involve a belief by some that the person concerned has legitimate authority. Therefore, the explanation of effective authority presupposes that of legitim­ate authority.




2. Authority was analysed in the context of a person in authority and his authoritative   utterances. Such an analysis could in principle apply to a legislator and his acts of enact­ment. But not all law is enacted. Customary rules can be legally binding. Can they he authoritative despite the fact that they are not issued by authority?



 It. is possible to talk directly of rhe authority of the law itself



    a law is authoritative if its existence is a reason for conforming action and  for excluding conflicting consid­erations





It is indeed plain that to determine our proper attitude to the law we must examine whether the law has authority over us which we should acknow­ledge.



which non-conforming behaviour is or is not a breach of law



The way to interpret the fact that conformity is required even in the absence of other reasons for it is that the law itself is presented as such a reason.



The law's claim to legitimate authority is not merely a claim that legal rules are reasons. It includes the claim that they are exclu­sionary reasons for disregarding reasons for non-conformity.



non­legal reasons do not justify deviation from a legal requirement except if such justification is allowed by a specific legal doctrine.



It may be thought that the law ought to give recognition to all relevant considerations, that failure to do so is a moral defect in the law.





But it is practic­ally impossible for the law to recognize all the considerations relevant to cases to which it applies.



If the law has moral author­ity then this authority must be established by showing, among other things, that it is better not to enable courts to apply cer­tain considerations than not to have law at all.



to have a general power to exempt from the law on grounds of hardship or justice. This may be justified with respect to certain legal problems. But in many areas this cure will be worse than the disease.




what is excluded by a rule of law is not all other reasons, but merely all those other reasons which are themselves not legally recognized.





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