Carl Schmitt

The Concept of the Political

15:14 min
Philosophy, Politics
144 pages, 1927

What drives political conflict and enmity between groups? Schmitt's seminal work tackles this vital question by proposing the friend-enemy distinction as the defining criterion of the political. Tracing the autonomy of the political sphere, he critically engages with liberalism and its tendency to deny the reality of strife. This short offers a bracing anthropological perspective - recognizing the ever-present possibility of conflict due to the unpredictability of human nature. Schmitt ultimately provides a constructive political theory that accepts the potential for both friendship and enmity in politics. Readers will gain essential insights into the inescapable dilemmas of politics and a framework for understanding the perpetual interplay between order and strife in human affairs.

Carl Schmitt

Carl Schmitt was a prominent German jurist and political theorist of the 20th century, known for his significant contributions to legal and political philosophy. His work on the concept of sovereignty, which he defined as the power to decide the state of exception, has been influential in various fields of study, including political science, law, and philosophy. Schmitt's theories on the nature of politics, particularly his distinction between friend and enemy as the fundamental political distinction, have laid the foundation for 20th century political thought.


The political transcends law, economics, and morality as an autonomous realm of power and decision-making that imposes order and enables collective action, though its authority remains bound to the existence of political community.
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Cover of The Concept of the Political