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Question Authority

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Salty Booger, Nov 26, 2020.

  1. Salty Booger

    Salty Booger Royal Crown Cola (RC)

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    Question Authority is a bumper sticker I once saw while driving in town. It is absolutely good advise.

    Whose authority do you trust more, your own or that of another?

    pexels-pixabay-280002.jpg
    Pexels.com
     
  2. SalixIncendium

    SalixIncendium Ānanda
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    My own.
     
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  3. Israel Khan

    Israel Khan Well-Known Member

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    Depends on the person and what type of authority. Regarding authority based on experience, like in a field of study, I trust another's if they are more experienced than me, because their authority is based on having more knowledge. If I am more experienced than the other then my experience is more trusted. When it comes to governance, I don't think anybody should have authority over another. We should rather work as a community.
     
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  4. ChristineM

    ChristineM "Be strong" I whispered to my coffee.
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    ^^^ this ^^^
     
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  5. SomeRandom

    SomeRandom Still learning to be wise

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    #5 SomeRandom, Nov 26, 2020
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 26, 2020
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  6. Israel Khan

    Israel Khan Well-Known Member

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    You have good taste in music my friend :cool:
     
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  7. PureX

    PureX Veteran Member

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    I don't really "question" authority. I simply accept or reject the presumption of authority, by others, as I see fit. This tended to get me into a lot of trouble as a kid. And I'd be dead by now if I lived in an authoritarian culture. Fortunately, I don't ... yet.
     
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  8. exchemist

    exchemist Veteran Member

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    Trusting your own authority seems meaningless to me. How can you be an authority to yourself? Surely the whole question about trusting authority is a matter of which external sources you trust, isn't it?
     
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  9. Stevicus

    Stevicus Veteran Member
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    Those bumper stickers used to be far more common back in the days when people actually did question authority. Nowadays, not so much.

    Questioning authority doesn't necessarily mean distrust. Much of it depends on how authority answers when they're questioned.
     
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  10. Secret Chief

    Secret Chief Meghalayan Ape

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    The only bumper sticker I ever liked was on a college tutor's Morris Minor:
    Die Ford Scum
     
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  11. Polymath257

    Polymath257 Think & Care
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    It is important to question authority. Even experts can be wrong at times.

    But, there *is* such a thing as an expert: someone who has studied a subject and has access to and familiarity with information that takes time and training to learn. Such experts are more likely to be right than the average person because they *do* know more about their subject. They are legitimate authorities.

    For example, i have been a research mathematician for over 30 years. I have studied the subject at a deeper level than most. If I have one answer to a question in math and a person off the street has another, I am much more likely to be correct. I am an authority in mathematics.

    But, there are several aspects about experts.

    One is that being an expert in one area doesn't make you an expert in any other area. So, my knowledge about math doesn't mean I am an authority on biology or economics.

    This means that it is important to be sure the authority is actually an expert in the correct subject. This is one reason to question them.

    Another thing to consider is whether the proposed authority actually has access to the information they claim to know.

    So, a research physicist in particle physics making a claim about the existence of the Higg's boson that her team has just discovered is in a very different position than a theologian who claims that God wants something from people. One does have access to the required information and the other probably does not.

    Many people claim to be experts that actually have no basis for their claims to knowledge.

    Next, experts may disagree. This is usually the case at the boundaries of knowledge when nobody really knows yet what is going on. over time, in subjects where there is actual expertise, these issues will get resolved. But, often we need answers even when there is uncertainty. In such cases, it is important to question the experts to see why they think what they do and what the actual evidence is for their positions. Often, the best bet will be a sort of consensus of the experts. it isn't guaranteed, of course, but it is the best bet.

    And, finally, in any area where expertise is possible, it is possible for any sufficiently intelligent person who wants to devote the time and energy to actually become an expert. It may well be a difficult process, but it is possible. As an example, if you want to become an expert in math, it is a path available to you if you wish to work and think enough about the subject.

    So, yes, question authority: determine if they actually *are* an authority. Determine if they are an authority in the subject they claim. And question them about the views of other authorities.

    But, in the end, realize that you may not be an authority and someone else may be.
     
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  12. Quagmire

    Quagmire Imaginary talking monkey
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    The title says "Question Authority".

    Not "Irritate Authority"
     
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  13. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

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    Depends.

    For example, when it comes to quantum mechanics, I more trust the physicists than myself on this. On some other matters, especially personal, I trust myself more.
     
  14. Stevicus

    Stevicus Veteran Member
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    I think this is key, at least as far as determining whether one is dealing with an actual authority. The subject matter is also important. When it comes to the hard sciences, I'm far more inclined to defer to authority than the soft sciences (such as political science, economics, philosophy, etc.).

    When it comes to the realm of political, legal, or military authority, then I'd be even more skeptical and inclined to question authority. That, I think, is more in the spirit of the phrase "Question Authority" than anything else. If a government official says "Trust us, the government of Iraq is hiding weapons of mass destruction," then I might question it.
     
  15. Shaul

    Shaul Well-Known Member

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    It is a fine thing to question authority. So longer as you include your own authority among those under question.
     
    #15 Shaul, Nov 26, 2020
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  16. Twilight Hue

    Twilight Hue The gentle embrace of twilight has become my guide

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    Depend on how much authority has impacted your person.
     
  17. Unveiled Artist

    Unveiled Artist Veteran Member

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    I trust myself as the final authority. I like how Soprano's mother put it: in the end, you die in your own arms.

    End the end, once we get the resources together, we still have to put the project together ourselves. When we learn from other people, we are the ones who live the lessons and make the decisions based on what we've experienced and so forth. I feel depending on outside authority regardless the nature makes me take life for granted because it assumes that the authority will always be there; I take it for granted. At least I'm coming to know I change per generation and not all my values are fixed but fluctuate depending on circumstances. While I can't say I don't life for granted, I'm pretty much a free bird and take other people's authority on things like a specialized career, if the military said "get out there's a bomb" I usually don't question that. I never liked "majority=truth" so I question.
     
  18. Secret Chief

    Secret Chief Meghalayan Ape

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    Yes, I'm not quite sure it's the right word. Authority exists external to our self. Does it make sense to consider whether or not we have authority over our own person? This may be taken away in some circumstances (eg when a person has dementia, they may be determined not to have capacity to look after their own affairs). I think the more appropriate word for our own self might be considering if one has agency? (eg "she has free agency").
     
  19. exchemist

    exchemist Veteran Member

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    I think one normally speaks of trusting , or not, one's own judgement. In effect what one does is either decide for oneself, or take another person's judgment on trust. The latter involves accepting their authority and saves you the trouble of making the judgement for yourself.
     
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  20. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
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    Whose authority are we questioning? People are questioning and ignoring "authority" figures more and more these days.

    So who has the highest authority over our lives?
     
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