Psychology Dictionary of Arguments

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Authority: Authority refers to the legitimate power or right to give commands, make decisions, or enforce obedience, often within a specific context, such as a government, institution, or expertise in a field.
Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Concept Summary/Quotes Sources

John Rawls on Authority - Dictionary of Arguments

I 462
Authority/Morality/Rawls: Rawls derives the social justification of authority from the structure of the family. He assumes that the sense of justice is gradually acquired by the younger members of society.
, >Customs/Morality.
I 463
Additional assumption: the basic structure of a well-ordered society contains the family in some way. Children are the first recipients of the legitimate authority of their parents. At first, the child does not have the knowledge or understanding to challenge authority. Therefore, there can be no reasonable doubt about the parental disposition.
Parents: we further assume that the parents love the child and the child comes to trust the parents.
Child love/Rousseau: Thesis: the child starts to love the parents only when they show love towards him(1).
Child/Rawls: his behaviour is ultimately determined by certain instincts and needs.
>Stages of development.
I 464
The love of the child cannot be explained rationally and instrumentally: it does not serve the child as a means of achieving purposes. Otherwise, it could behave as if it loved the parents, but then its behavior would not cause its original needs to be transformed.
Rawls: There are intermediate stages on the way to reflecting parental feelings: the child becomes aware of its own value as a person, it feels gratitude for what more powerful persons impose on it, it experiences parental care as unconditional; the parents' pleasure in his spontaneous expressions is not dependent on disciplined following of instructions. This is how trust is formed. In this way, the child is able to train and test additional skills. This increases its self-confidence. During this process, the child's affection for his or her parents also grows. It connects the persons of the parents with its successes.
Love: how does the love of the child show? In doing so, we must take account of the situation in which it is confronted with authority. It cannot protest rationally.
I 465
Feelings of guilt/child/Rawls: while the child tries to expand its sphere of action, it encounters resistance from the parents who accept it, first of all, because it assumes that they are based on unconditional parental love. I assume that feelings of guilt are distinguished from fear and anger(2).
I 466
Authority/Child/Development/Rawls: The child's sense of authority then consists of being dispositioned to certain behaviors, without orientation towards rewards or punishments, following certain principles that may seem arbitrary to it. It then wants to act in accordance with the powerful people it loves and trusts. It concludes that they show a behavior that characterizes a person who wants to become itself.
>Person, >Intersubjectivity.

1. Cf. J. J. Rousseau, Emile, (London, 1908) p. 174.
2. Cf. E. E. Maccoby, „Moral Values and Behavior in Childhood“, in Socialization and Society, ed. J. A. Clausen (Boston, 1968), M. L. Hoffman, (1970) „Moral Development, pp. 282-319.

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Rawl I
J. Rawls
A Theory of Justice: Original Edition Oxford 2005

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