Discipline: Political Science
A theory justifying special functions or powers.
Persons or institutions have authority if they possess qualities of insight, or experience, or skill which mark them off from others, and which entitle them to make decisions which those others are unqualified to make. Authority may thus justify governing others, or making pronouncements about morals, or scientific or technical matters.
The concept of authority is regarded with deep suspicion by subscribers to anarchism.
R Flathman, The Practice of Political Authority: Authority and the Authoritative (1980).