Exploring the cobelonging of the philosophical and the political, this essay reflects on the question of authority. Plato more or less invented authority when he sought to establish a reliable force that would intercede between power and persuasion. Rhetorical persuasion had failed philosophy when it did nothing to prevent the state's murder of Socrates. Philosophy was too puny to fight the power. Authority and its cognates gave Plato the arsenal he needed to upgrade the philosophical stance and give it an antiballistic shield. Hannah Arendt and Alexandre Kojève show concern over the disappearance of authority and its implicit calamity. Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe, Jean-Luc Nancy, and Samuel Weber offer a neighboring perspective on panic and authority.

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