<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="65001"%> Schmitt discussion

We now come to the discussion of our last philosopher, Carl Schmitt---not bad, seven philosophers in 12 weeks!  Please make sure that you have read Political Theology (why "theology"?) carefully, as well as the few pages I sent to you from The Concept of the Political.  Thus far, only one of you has sent out your commentary on the Schmitt quotations---if you haven't yet done so, please send your comments to everyone as soon as possible.

Schmitt seems very different from the other philosophers we have considered, perhaps in part because his writing is--or, at first, seems to be--so clear and straightforward.  But is he?  My personal bias is to see a direct connection.  Still, the question remains:  what kind of connection?  For our discussion tomorrow, you may find it helpful to consider and then take a stand on the following ambiguities about what he represents.

1.  Looking back at the beginning of our course, does Schmitt's thinking about philosophy and politics represent a failure of Enlightenment thought to take hold in the minds of many 20th century intellectuals?  Or, conversely, is Schmitt's type of thinking a consequence of Enlightenment thought and the demystification of the old world order?

2.  I have placed Schmitt directly after our reading of Nietzsche.  Why?  Does Schmitt's thinking represent an effort to repair the damage that Nietzsche's philosophizing "with a hammer" has done to the world?  Or, conversely, does his thinking represent a clear and logical continuation of Nietzsche's observations about a world after man has "murdered" God? See the link after this one for some relevant quotations from Nietzsche's Gay Science and Beyond Good and Evil.

3.  Finally, does Schmitt's approach to philosophy free man or does it enslave him?  That is, if Schmitt were to join us for dinner, could he persuade us that he had at last put human beings into the position where they can look at things "as they really are" and make free, moral choices about their lives?  Or would Schmitt's approach instead deprive us of any meaningful capacity to know our world, to make  informed moral decisions, and to act autonomously?