Abstract

The genre of philosophical commentary is characterized by an attitude of textual deference, or what I call a principle of authority. To read in conformity with the authority principle is to forego the prerogative to judge that the author has made a mistake. This article offers a defense of the principle of authority as hermeneutical precept by showing that it facilitates the practice of philosophy as care of the self. When its function is so understood, the authority principle turns out to be compatible with a substantial degree of intellectual autonomy and is also epistemically benign.

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