The development of the relation between authority and freedom in the political philosophy of Yves R. Simon

Patricia Pallasch Radzin, Marquette University

Abstract

The question of the relation between authority and freedom in the formation of a political philosophy has been of major importance throughout the history of western philosophy and, more specifically, the history of political philosophy. The question is how authority and freedom are to be fairly balanced so that neither will destroy the other and, in the process, destroy itself: unrestricted authority by becoming tyranny and unrestricted liberty by becoming abusive license. Yves R. Simon suggests a solution to this problem which involves the development of a particular kind of knowledge--practical knowledge or prudence--which will enable leaders to understand the proper limits of their authority and followers to understand the proper limits of their freedom. To help the prudent person realize the limits of both authority and freedom, Simon formulates two principles which he believes can be applied universally. Although Simon's explicit reference to the problem of establishing a proper balance between authority and freedom begins with Nature and Functions of Authority, written in 1940 and presented as the Aquinas Lecture at Marquette University that same year, the metaphysical foundations underlying his analysis of the problem were developed in his earliest writings and continued during his entire lifetime, including an examination of such related topics as the nature of man as a socio-political being, the role of the comprehensive good in relation to man's free choice of the will, and the necessity for both formal and material intention of the common good in any society.

Recommended Citation

Radzin, Patricia Pallasch, "The development of the relation between authority and freedom in the political philosophy of Yves R. Simon" (1995). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. AAI9600858.
https://epublications.marquette.edu/dissertations/AAI9600858

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