A book by a French philosopher Alain Renaut The end of authority has been published by TIM press.
The diminishing influence of school, the rise of individualism, increasingly problematic parenting experiences - never have the models used by the adults to perform their responsible task of raising children been more mysterious. Are the forms of power, based on the mode of authority (educational, but also political, legal, medical) that persisted in traditional societies, compatible with the logics of democracy?
If there is a a mysterious dimension attributed to the authority that makes it indisputable, isn't the crisis of authority primarily present in societies that believe that no government is legitimate unless approved by those over whom it ought to be exercised? It seems astonishing that our society has not yet reached all the conclusions from the founding democratic believes and, in that context, to address all the implications of democracy may be its most daring challenge. What is there after the end of authority? Alain Renaut wants to contribute to the debate on authority in the modern world, beginning with the way the concept of authority is built and its links with the other concepts. Auctoritas, this Latin term, determines the source from which credibility flows, the degree of confidence one can have in a man, in an institution, etc. Thus, asserts Renaut, the one who has the authority does not need to exert physical force to impose unconditional obedience. With further affirmation of the idea of freedom and equality, the dynamics of democracy therefore allows imagining and accepting only those authorities where the relation between those in power and their subalterns (parents and children, teachers and students, doctors and patients, the judge and the accused) is based on the recognition and respect of the Other as an alter ego and an equal.
Between the iterated demands regarding the simple expression and reaffirmation of the authority on one hand, and the unlimited confirmations of the most spontaneous forms of freedom on the other, the book tries to offer a new and original approach to the reader: taking into consideration the questions that trouble the family as well as the educational system and all the domains of power, aren't we led to reconsider the very origins of authority and to imagine its reinstatement on an entirely new foundation?
Alain Renaut, French philosopher born in 1948, a former student at Ecole Normal Supérieure, currently a professor of political philosophy and ethics at Sorbonne, dedicates his work to the problem of global justice and human development. He published somewhere around twenty works on the subject, including History of political philosophy in five volumes (Histoire de la philosophie politique, 1999.), Equality and discriminations (Egalité et discriminations 2007.) and A humanism of diversity (Un humanisme de la diversité, 2009.). Heideggerian at first, he changes his orientation at the end of the 1970 transferring his interests to the philosophy of moral and politics, placing his practice in the field of social liberalism. His most recent research themes affect the applied philosophy of politics, ethical and political questions of diversity and the possibilities of establisihing improved and more balanced relations in the world.
- ISBN: 978-953-8075-04-9
- Year of the edition: 2015
- Number of pages: 240
- Cover: paperback
- Original title: La fin de l’autorité
- Original language: French
- Translation: Dragutin Lalović
- Dimensions: 128x200 mm
Renaut strongly rejects the nostalgic invocation of the old good authority, a favorite commonplace of the conservatives, but he declines the flatbed optimism of the "progressivist discourse" that overlooks the depth of the crisis and the severity of the problem connected to a crisis of authority of all kinds of those in power as well (family, educational, legal, medical). (...) The book is intended for the general public as well as for the professional community, for all those citizens concerned about the inefficiency and legitimacy deficits of modern democracy in the fields of politics, education, criminal practices and medical treatment.
Prof. Dragutin Lalović, Ph. D.
The end of authority by a renowned, well respected and translated French philosopher Alain Renaut (originally published in 2004), is certainly a valuable contribution to the Croatian academic, intellectual and cultural circles. Author's work reveals the social and political controversies of our time that we experience on a daily basis as situations of our existential disorientation. The special value of this book is its balanced and reasoned approach that will certainly be a boost to intellectual discussions.
Doc. Raul Raunić, Ph. D.