Contemporary Political Theory 16 (4):439-458 (2017)

This article suggests that humanism is a decisionism in contemporary critical political theory. Despite obvious and multiple differences, leading critical theorists like Giorgio Agamben, Slavoj Žižek, Eric Santner, and Jürgen Habermas, among others, share an investment in stabilizing the human being as a ground of the political. This stabilization of the human should concern political theorists, as this article argues, because it uncritically reproduces conceptual affinities between the notion of the human being and sovereign authority. By investing in the stability and centrality of the human being, these theorists perform what will be called, paraphrasing an often neglected argument by Carl Schmitt, a decision to be human. Contrary to conventional wisdom, I argue that Schmitt’s decisionism is not merely circumscribed to sovereignty’s juridico-political dimension, but that it also includes a peculiar commitment to God’s decision to become human in Christ. Against this decisionism as humanism, the article draws on Walter Benjamin, Roberto Esposito, and Jacques Derrida to propose an alternative politics that destabilizes humanity and sovereignty through the emergence of the animal, or what will be called melancholic lycanthropy.
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DOI 10.1057/s41296-016-0070-2
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References found in this work BETA

The Animal That Therefore I Am.Jacques Derrida - 2002 - Fordham University Press.
Rogues: Two Essays on Reason.Jacques Derrida - 2005 - Stanford University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Human Rights Without Human Supremacism.Will Kymlicka - 2018 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 48 (6):763-792.
Moral Decisionism and its Discontents.Gabriel Abend - forthcoming - Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour.
The Old ‘New’ Dignitarianism.Raffael Fasel - 2019 - Res Publica 25 (4):531-552.

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