Something to Die for. The Individual as Interruption of the Political in Carl Schmitt’s The Concept of the Political

Revue Roumaine de Philosophie 60 (2):311–325 (2016)
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Abstract

This article aims to question the anti-individualist stance in Carl Schmitt's concept of the political by uncovering the historical bias of Schmitt's anti-individualism, seen here as one of the main driving forces behind his argument. For Schmitt, the political can take place only when a collectivity is able to declare war to another collectivity on the basis of feeling existentially threatened by the latter. As such, Schmitt's framework implies the inescapable possibility of war, as the condition which makes possible the political. Acknowledging the previous criticisms of Schmitt raised by John Rawls and Iris Marion Young, this article takes a different path by pointing to certain historically tacit assumptions in 1927 Germany which Schmitt took for granted, but which are not suitable for a contemporary political theory. The demonstration is done first by showing how the structure of interruption functions in the works of Schmitt, then showing how he conceives of the individual as a possible interruption of the political in history, and then placing this structure of interruption in the historical context of Schmitt's writing.

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Lavinia Marin
Delft University of Technology