Political Theology between Reason and Will

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

Contemporary practitioners of political theology make use of Carl Schmitt's account of sovereignty to criticize liberal political theory. But whereas Schmitt focused on "states of exception," the new decisionism holds that decision-making is a quotidian feature of jurisprudence: the interpretation of law depends upon judicial decisions that serve to impose meaning on otherwise semantically indeterminate norms. Ironically, it is possible to detect in the contemporary decisionist critique of liberal theory, with its focus on law's meaning, a liberalizing tendency: by insisting on the ubiquity of decision-making, the exception is made to seem unexceptional. In this way, Schmitt is tamed, and sovereignty is diffused into the mundane world of administrative governance. I want to resist this normalizing account on philosophical grounds: if one is to appreciate the exceptional character of the decision, it is important to retain some background of regularity with which it can be contrasted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-67
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Law, Religion and State
Volume6
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

political theology
sovereignty
decisionism
interpretation of the law
decision making
political theory
regularity
jurisprudence
governance
Law
Political Theology
Decision Making
Sovereignty
Regularity
Quotidian
State of Exception
Governance
Carl Schmitt
Jurisprudence
Political Theory

Keywords

  • Carl Schmitt
  • decisionism
  • Ludwig Wittgenstein
  • Paul W. Kahn
  • philosophy of law
  • political theology
  • the self
  • voluntarism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Religious studies
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law

Cite this

Political Theology between Reason and Will. / Amesbury, Richard.

In: Journal of Law, Religion and State, Vol. 6, No. 1, 01.01.2018, p. 49-67.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

@article{2efb9d16f6a04ddc95f318cc5c40a3a3,
title = "Political Theology between Reason and Will",
abstract = "Contemporary practitioners of political theology make use of Carl Schmitt's account of sovereignty to criticize liberal political theory. But whereas Schmitt focused on {"}states of exception,{"} the new decisionism holds that decision-making is a quotidian feature of jurisprudence: the interpretation of law depends upon judicial decisions that serve to impose meaning on otherwise semantically indeterminate norms. Ironically, it is possible to detect in the contemporary decisionist critique of liberal theory, with its focus on law's meaning, a liberalizing tendency: by insisting on the ubiquity of decision-making, the exception is made to seem unexceptional. In this way, Schmitt is tamed, and sovereignty is diffused into the mundane world of administrative governance. I want to resist this normalizing account on philosophical grounds: if one is to appreciate the exceptional character of the decision, it is important to retain some background of regularity with which it can be contrasted.",
keywords = "Carl Schmitt, decisionism, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Paul W. Kahn, philosophy of law, political theology, the self, voluntarism",
author = "Richard Amesbury",
year = "2018",
month = "1",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1163/22124810-00601003",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "6",
pages = "49--67",
journal = "Journal of Law, Religion and State",
issn = "2212-6465",
publisher = "Brill",
number = "1",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Political Theology between Reason and Will

AU - Amesbury, Richard

PY - 2018/1/1

Y1 - 2018/1/1

N2 - Contemporary practitioners of political theology make use of Carl Schmitt's account of sovereignty to criticize liberal political theory. But whereas Schmitt focused on "states of exception," the new decisionism holds that decision-making is a quotidian feature of jurisprudence: the interpretation of law depends upon judicial decisions that serve to impose meaning on otherwise semantically indeterminate norms. Ironically, it is possible to detect in the contemporary decisionist critique of liberal theory, with its focus on law's meaning, a liberalizing tendency: by insisting on the ubiquity of decision-making, the exception is made to seem unexceptional. In this way, Schmitt is tamed, and sovereignty is diffused into the mundane world of administrative governance. I want to resist this normalizing account on philosophical grounds: if one is to appreciate the exceptional character of the decision, it is important to retain some background of regularity with which it can be contrasted.

AB - Contemporary practitioners of political theology make use of Carl Schmitt's account of sovereignty to criticize liberal political theory. But whereas Schmitt focused on "states of exception," the new decisionism holds that decision-making is a quotidian feature of jurisprudence: the interpretation of law depends upon judicial decisions that serve to impose meaning on otherwise semantically indeterminate norms. Ironically, it is possible to detect in the contemporary decisionist critique of liberal theory, with its focus on law's meaning, a liberalizing tendency: by insisting on the ubiquity of decision-making, the exception is made to seem unexceptional. In this way, Schmitt is tamed, and sovereignty is diffused into the mundane world of administrative governance. I want to resist this normalizing account on philosophical grounds: if one is to appreciate the exceptional character of the decision, it is important to retain some background of regularity with which it can be contrasted.

KW - Carl Schmitt

KW - decisionism

KW - Ludwig Wittgenstein

KW - Paul W. Kahn

KW - philosophy of law

KW - political theology

KW - the self

KW - voluntarism

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85044190192&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85044190192&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1163/22124810-00601003

DO - 10.1163/22124810-00601003

M3 - Review article

AN - SCOPUS:85044190192

VL - 6

SP - 49

EP - 67

JO - Journal of Law, Religion and State

JF - Journal of Law, Religion and State

SN - 2212-6465

IS - 1

ER -