The plight of the exception: why Carl Schmitt bid farewell to Hobbes

History of European Ideas 49 (7):1105-1119 (2023)
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This article offers an in-depth analysis of Carl Schmitt's social ontology to explain how and why he came to reject exceptionalist decisionism. To this end, the authors unearth the considerable shifts in terms of social ontology that paved the way for this conceptual turn. The gist of their argument is that Schmitt's Political Theology (1922) espoused a Hobbesian conception of the political as the possibility condition for stable patters of social interaction. Though the first three chapters of Political Theology were originally designed for and published in a posthumous Festschrift for Max Weber, his understanding of the social was indebted to a Hobbesian legacy. Nonetheless, shortly thereafter, he began to revise his conception of the social and to put stress on the organisational dynamics of social institutions as independent of there being a political authority. From 1927 through to 1950, Schmitt never got back to his 1922 exceptionalist view of politics and rather sought to make sense of how the state could and should draw the contents of the legal order from the normative life of social institutions.



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Hobbes and Schmitt.Timothy Stanton - 2011 - History of European Ideas 37 (2):160-167.
Political ontology.Colin Hay - 2006 - In Robert E. Goodin & Charles Tilly (eds.), The Oxford handbook of contextual political analysis. Oxford : New York: Oxford University Press.

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