The Authority Tenet

Part of the Palgrave Studies in Ethics and Public Policy book series (PASEPP)


This chapter discusses whether the authority tenet should be endorsed as well, i.e. whether experts should rule. First, I discuss epistocracy, the rule of those who know, and claim that, though this decision-making procedure might have considerable epistemic value, it cannot meet the liberal criterion of legitimacy. Namely, we cannot expect all reasonable citizens to see the same group of people as experts in politics, and therefore the rule of any group would be rejectable to at least some reasonable citizens. In the second part of the chapter I discuss Mill’s scholocracy, a decision-making procedure in which everyone has at least one vote, but those better educated have more than one. Though it presents a more sophisticated version of epistocracy, I demonstrate that scholocracy can be rejected as well, since it is not unreasonable to think that some epistemically damaging features (biases) might be present in the group that is given greater political authority. I end the chapter by claiming that the authority tenet should be rejected.


Epistocracy Scholocracy Expertism Expert–boss fallacy Invidious comparisons 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Humanities and Social SciencesUniversity of RijekaRijekaCroatia

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