Category Archives: Schmitt, Carl (1888 – 1985 ce)

The Oxford Handbook of Carl Schmitt (2017)

Edited by Jens Meierhenrich and Oliver Simons
Oxford University Press 2017

ISBN: 9780199916931
872 pages

The work “collects thirty original chapters on the diverse oeuvre of one of the most controversial thinkers of the twentieth century. Carl Schmitt (1888-1985) was a German theorist whose anti-liberalism continues to inspire scholars and practitioners on both the Left and the Right. Despite Schmitt’s rabid antisemitism and partisan legal practice in Nazi Germany, the appeal of his trenchant critiques of, among other things, aestheticism, representative democracy, and international law as well as of his theoretical justifications of dictatorship and rule by exception is undiminished. Uniquely located at the intersection of law, the social sciences, and the humanities, this volume brings together sophisticated yet accessible interpretations of Schmitt’s sprawling thought and complicated biography. The contributors hail from diverse disciplines, including art, law, literature, philosophy, political science, and history. In addition to opening up exciting new avenues of research, The Oxford Handbook of Carl Schmitt provides the intellectual foundations for an improved understanding of the political, legal, and cultural thought of this most infamous of German theorists. A substantial introduction places the trinity of Schmitt’s thought in a broad context.”

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Table of Contents

List of Contributors
A Chronology of Carl Schmitt’s Life
A List of Carl Schmitt’s Writings

Part I – Introduction

1 “A Fanatic of Order in an Epoch of Confusing Turmoil”: The Political, Legal, and Cultural Thought of Carl Schmitt
Jens Meierhenrich and Oliver Simons

Part II – The Lives of Carl Schmitt

2 “Catholic Layman of German Nationality and Citizenship”? Carl Schmitt and the Religiosity of Life
Reinhard Mehring

3 The “True Enemy”: Antisemitism in Carl Schmitt’s Life and Thought
Raphael Gross

4 Schmitt’s Diaries
Joseph W. Bendersky

5 Carl Schmitt in Plettenberg
Christian Linder

Part III – The Political Thought of Carl Schmitt

6 Fearing the Disorder of Things: The Development of Carl Schmitt’s Institutional Theory, 1919-1938
Jens Meierhenrich

7 Carl Schmitt’s Political Theory of Dictatorship
Duncan Kelly

8 The Political Theology of Carl Schmitt
Miguel Vatter

9 Teaching in Vain: Carl Schmitt, Thomas Hobbes, and the Theory of the Sovereign State
John P. McCormick

10 Concepts of the Political in Twentieth-Century European Thought
Samuel Moyn

11 Carl Schmitt’s Defense of Democracy
William Rasch

12 Same/Other versus Friend/Enemy: Levinas contra Schmitt
Aryeh Botwinick

13 Carl Schmitt’s Concepts of War: A Categorical Failure
Benno Teschke

14 Carl Schmitt’s Concept of History
Matthias Lievens

15 What’s “Left” in Schmitt? From Aversion to Appropriation in Contemporary Political Theory
Matthew G. Specter

Part IV – The Legal Thought of Carl Schmitt

16 A Jurist Confronting Himself: Carl Schmitt’s Jurisprudential Thought
Giorgio Agamben

17 Carl Schmitt and the Weimar Constitution
Ulrich K. Preuss

18 The Concept of the Rule-of-Law State in Carl Schmitt’s Verfassungslehre
David Dyzenhaus

19 Hans Kelsen and Carl Schmitt: Growing Discord, Culminating in the “Guardian” Controversy
of 1931
Stanley L. Paulson

20 States of Emergency
William E. Scheuerman

21 Politonomy
Martin Loughlin

22 Carl Schmitt and International Law
Martti Koskenniemi

23 Demystifying Schmitt
Eric A. Posner and Adrian Vermeule

Part V – The Cultural Thought of Carl Schmitt

24 Carl Schmitt and Modernity
Friedrich Balke

25 Is “the Political” a Romantic Concept? Novalis’s Faith and Love or The King and Queen with Reference to Carl Schmitt
Rüdiger Campe

26 Walter Benjamin’s Esteem for Carl Schmitt
Horst Bredekamp

27 Legitimacy of the Modern Age? Hans Blumenberg and Carl Schmitt
Alexander Schmitz

28 Tragedy as Exception in Carl Schmitt’s Hamlet or Hecuba
David Pan

29 At the Limits of Rhetoric: Authority, Commonplace, and the Role of Literature in Carl Schmitt
Johannes Türk

30 Carl Schmitt’s Spatial Rhetoric
Oliver Simons



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Janus’s Gaze: Essays on Carl Schmitt (2015)

Janus's Gaze: Essays on Carl Schmittby Carlo Galli (Author)
Adam Sitze (Editor)
Amanda Minervini (Translator)

“First published in Italian in 2008 and appearing here in English for the first time, Janus’s Gaze is the culmination of Carlo Galli’s ongoing critique of the work of Carl Schmitt. Galli argues that Schmitt’s main accomplishment, as well as the thread that unifies his oeuvre, is his construction of a genealogy of the modern that explains how modernity’s compulsory drive to achieve order is both necessary and impossible. Galli addresses five key problems in Schmitt’s thought: his relation to the state, the significance of his concept of political theology, his readings of Machiavelli and Spinoza, his relation to Leo Strauss, and his relevance for contemporary political theory. Galli emphasizes the importance of passing through Schmitt’s thought—and, more important, beyond Schmitt’s thought—if we are to achieve insight into the problems of the global age. Adam Sitze provides an illuminating introduction to Schmitt and Galli’s reading of him.”

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Article: Carl Schmitt’s Critique of Kant, Sovereignty and International Law (2012)

by Seyla Benhabib


Carl Schmitt’s critique of liberalism has gained increasing influence in the last few decades. This article focuses on Schmitt’s analysis of international law in The Nomos of the Earth, in order to uncover the reasons for his appeal as a critic not only of liberalism but of American hegemonic aspirations as well. Schmitt saw the international legal order that developed after World War I, and particularly the “criminalization of aggressive war,” as a smokescreen to hide U.S. aspirations to world dominance. By focusing on Schmitt’s critique of Kant’s concept of the “unjust enemy,” the article shows the limits of Schmitt’s views and concludes that Schmitt, as well as left critics of U.S. hegemony, misconstrue the relation between international law and democratic sovereignty as a model of top–down domination. As conflictual as the relationship between international norms and democratic sovereignty can be at times, this needs to be interpreted as one of mediation and not domination.

Political Theory December 2012 vol. 40 no. 6 688-713

Carl Schmitt and Leo Strauss: The Hidden Dialogue (2006)

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Carl Schmitt is the most famous and controversial defender of political theology in our century. But in his best-known work, The Concept of the Political, issued in 1927, 1932, and 1933, political considerations led him to conceal the dependence of his entire political theory on his faith in divine revelation. In 1932 political philosopher Leo Strauss published a critical review of The Concept of the Political that earned him Schmitt's respect and initiated an extremely subtle interchange between Schmitt and Strauss regarding Schmitt's critique of liberalism. Although Schmitt never answered Strauss publicly, in the third edition of his book he changed key passages in response to Strauss's criticisms without ever acknowledging them. In the present book Heinrich Meier astutely follows the trail left by the interlocutors. The present volume includes a new translation of Strauss's classic essay and the first English version of three letters to Schmitt from Strauss.

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"Carl Schmitt envelops the center of his thought in darkness because the center of his thought is faith. The center is faith in God's having become man, in a 'historical event of infinite, unpossessable, unoccupiable uniqueness.'" – page 68.

"To him the truth of revelation is such a certain source of 'pure and whole knowledge' that only a subordinate, derivative significance can be ascribed to any efforts to attain by human means knowledge of the nature of man and valid statements about the character of the political." – page 69.