The Philosophy of Anarchism

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Anarchism is a body of political thought that primarily considers the authority of government to be illegitimate and the exertion thereof to be harmful to the well-being of both individuals and society. There are, however, many different views among anarchist thinkers and traditions concerning why exactly this is the case, whether other and perhaps all hierarchical institutions are illegitimate and harmful (such as those of private property, heteronormativity and speciesism), how a more free and equitable society can otherwise be organised (through, e.g., consensus democracy and socialism), and how this envisioned state of affairs can be best brought about by activist and revolutionary means. This is the sphere of anarchist thought: where radical critiques of authority are joined by practical discussions for enacting and establishing political change.

Anarchism as a body of political thought becomes anarchist philosophy when a critical attitude is adopted such that not only any political claim to or exertion of authority is interrogated, but any views, positions, concepts, ideas, plans of action, etc., that comprise anarchism and its various traditions (such as anarcho-socialism or anarcho-syndicalism) are not taken for granted but systematically interrogated. In other words, they are not assumed to be justified by virtue of some well-known anarchist thinker or tradition having used or propounded them. This is the anti-authoritarian attitude of anarchism properly reflected upon itself. Furthermore, anarchist philosophy is the critical enterprise of clarifying, explicating and revising anarchist thought in a manner that is argumentatively coherent, well-justified, and socio-culturally relevant. The focus area “Philosophy of Anarchism” presents articles in this vein.

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