What Does Authority Mean?
Authority is the power or right, usually based on rank or office, to command or decide. It can also mean an accepted source of information or advice: He spoke with authority on the subject.
A person with authority can manage conflicts and ensure that benefits (advantages) and burdens are distributed fairly. They can also enforce laws.
Power, influence, sway, weight, credit, and prestige are other synonyms of authority. They all imply having the ability to influence others or control their actions, but authority is different from power in that it is formal and legal.
In philosophy, authority is the right to give commands that correlate with a duty to obey. Raz’s conception of legitimacy of authority rests on the idea that “authoritative directives must be based on reasons that already independently apply to those who are subject to them and are relevant to their action in the circumstances covered by those directives.” Hence, subjects have a duty to obey those classes of authoritative commands.
The word authority often refers to a person with the power or right to decide something. This includes people who are entrusted with the responsibility to make final decisions, like committee chairpersons or company CEOs. It also can refer to a legal writing or decision that is considered authoritative.
This type of authority enables you to enforce rules and laws on others. It is typically bestowed upon individuals based on their position and credentials. This includes judges in court and umpires in sports games.
Some people may be able to exercise this authority without having formal positions or titles. They can use their status as a celebrity or well-known individual to convince others to obey them. This is sometimes known as peer pressure. A famous example of this is the Milgram experiment. In this study, participants were asked to give a dime to someone in uniform who requested it. Most of the participants continued to comply with the orders, even though they went against their moral beliefs and personal consciences.
The word authority, from Latin auctoritas, means “power to determine.” In ancient society it identified men who had dominion over various spheres of human life—politics, culture, and religion. Their rule was to be respected and obeyed.
Today, authority is a concept that includes influence, prestige, weight and credit. Influence is the power of winning devotion or allegiance, usually through persuasion. Prestige is the ascendancy gained by conspicuous excellence or success. Weight is the effect of one’s knowledge and experience. Credit is the confidence resulting from good reputation or proven ability.
Expert, master, ace, guru, buff (informal), wizard, boffin (Brit. informal), whizz (informal) are synonyms of authority. Authority is also the title of a book written by a famous author. The words authority and author share the same Latin root. The first two meanings are often confused, but they are different concepts. Power is the ability to affect behavior, whereas authority is specific authorization obtained from a higher end.
In social situations, authority is used to describe the status of a person who is in charge. It is important to note that this status does not necessarily imply power over others, but rather the ability to direct and control one’s own behavior. Examples of people who act with authority include parents and guardians, teachers, mentors, local community leaders, and religious leaders.
Speaking with authority means delivering your ideas confidently and clearly. It is also important to speak with compassion and conviction. In doing so, you will gain the trust and respect of your listeners.
In writing legal documents, it is important to cite your sources and provide a thorough analysis of the law. This will demonstrate your expertise and make your arguments more convincing to your readers.