chapter  1
The Problem of Political Authority
WithJean Hampton
Pages 36

This chapter presents four theories to legitimate and define the extent and nature of political authority. They are the divine authority theory, the natural subordination theory, the perfectionist theory, and the consent-based theory. A natural subordination theorist ought to agree with all this. Aristotle view is not simply that "better" people get to rule over "worse" people but rather that people better in a certain way are entitled to rule other people who are deficient in a certain way. The theory of political authority was originally advocated by Plato and historically called the perfectionist theory of political authority. So Aristotle's consent-based theory of the nature and source of political authority implies a theory of good government. Aristotle dismisses the idea that such godlike people are likely to live among us and he develops a theory of political authority recognizing the flawed nature of the human pursuit of the Good, the possibility of corruption, and the relative equality.