The Problem of Political Authority

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The Problem of Political Authority
The Problem of Political Authority.jpg
Cover of the first edition
AuthorMichael Huemer
CountryUnited States
SubjectPolitical philosophy
PublishedJanuary 2013 (Palgrave Macmillan)
Media typePrint

The Problem of Political Authority: An Examination of the Right to Coerce and the Duty to Obey is a book by University of Colorado philosophy professor Michael Huemer released in January 2013. The first part of the book argues in detail for philosophical anarchism and refutes the legitimacy of political authority, while the second addresses political anarchism and the practical viability of anarcho-capitalism.[1][2]

History and promotion[edit]

In April 2011, while he was still writing the book (then titled Freedom and Authority), Huemer was profiled by the Arts and Sciences Magazine of the University of Colorado, Boulder.[3] The profile quoted Huemer as saying that political authority is "a moral illusion we’re suffering from."

In May 2012, a few months prior to the publication of the book, Huemer defended the argument of the book in a video.[4]


Ole Martin Moen of the University of Oslo, Norway, reviewed the book in Philosophical Quarterly. Moen concluded his review by writing: "In addition to being a solid scholarly work, Huemer’s book will work well as assigned reading in classes on political philosophy. It is bound to spark debate, and its inclusion would help remedy the sad fact that anarchism is often either ignored or put aside without serious engagement. This is a pity, for even if one rejects his conclusions, Huemer makes it clear that anarchism is a sophisticated theory that deserves careful consideration."[5]

The book has also been reviewed in Ethics by George Klosko [6] and in Mind by Daniel Viehoff.[7]

The book was reviewed in Le Québécois Libre.[8]

Related books by others[edit]


  1. ^ Huemer, Michael. The Problem of Political Authority: An Examination of the Right to Coerce and the Duty to Obey. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-1137281654.
  2. ^ Huemer, Michael (2013). "The Problem of Political Authority". Archived from the original on 2013-10-03. Retrieved 2013-09-18.
  3. ^ Talbott, Clint (April 2011). "The "moral illusion" of governmental authority". Archived from the original on 2011-04-13. Retrieved 2013-09-18.
  4. ^ "The Problem with Political Authority: Professor Michael Huemer (video)". May 2012. Retrieved 2013-09-18.
  5. ^ "Book review by Ole Martin Muen" (PDF). Philosophical Quarterly Advance Access Publication.
  6. ^ "The Problem of Political Authority: An Examination of the Right to Coerce and the Duty to Obey". Ethics. JSTOR 10.1086/673423. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  7. ^ Daniel Viehoff (2015). "The Problem of Political Authority: An Examination of the Right to Coerce and the Duty to Obey, by Michael Huemer". Mind (494 ed.). pp. 630–636. doi:10.1093/mind/fzv004.
  8. ^ Doucet, Bradley (2013-06-15). "Is Government a Necessary Evil? A Review of Michael Huemer's The Problem of Political Authority". Retrieved 2013-10-12.
  9. ^ Kennedy, John (2013-11-22). "A Review of Michael Huemer's 'The Problem of Political Authority'". Retrieved 2013-11-25.
  10. ^ a b Kaye, Tomasz (2013-09-05). "The Problem of Political Authority". George Ought to Help. Retrieved 2013-11-25.
  11. ^ Huemer, p. 230, footnote 1
  12. ^ Murphy, Robert. "Chaos Theory". Retrieved 2013-11-26.

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