Carl Schmitt: Positionen and Begriffe. The Difference Between Politics and the Political


The subject of consideration is the relationship between politics and the political, as it is presented in two dissertations by Carl Schmitt from the 1920s: the famous Der Begriff des Politischen and the most extensive work from this period – Verfassungslehre. The thesis of the article is that, contrary to the fairly widespread interpretation of both these phenomena, that is, politics in the common sense and its special form to which Carl Schmitt referred as the political, should not be treated as explanandum and explanans, but as separate, co-occurring and somewhat complementary phenomena. While politics involves state actions for the public interest, ideologically defined according to classic political categories, the political is a sphere of specific actions in the special space of relations sometimes formed between collective entities, defined by the terms enemy-friend, a space cognitively diagnosed by Carl Schmitt. The political is not a real form of politics, but a form of action in the sphere of collective life other than politics, which is essentially important for building the structure of the state. The disclosure of the political in the activities of individual countries is an important element of analysis in foreign policy, an element of analysis of a situation within international relations. Revealing the political as a kind of arcana imperi of state actions, Carl Schmitt appears not only and not primarily as a neutral theoretician of politics, but as a German national political thinker, analysing primarily the situation of Germany in relation to the Entente countries at a very special moment in the history of twentieth-century Europe.

Bartyzel J., Katolicka teologia polityczna w XX wieku, [access: October 24, 2019].

Böckenförde E.W., Staat Gesellschaft Kirche, Freiburg 1996.

Grimm D., Staat in der kontinental europeischen Tradition, in: idem, Recht und Staat der burgerlichen Gesellschaft, Berlin 1987.

Kaczorowski P., My i Oni. Państwo jako jedność polityczna. Filozofia polityczna Carla Schmitta w okresie republiki weimarskiej, Warszawa 1999.

Król M., Wielcy władcy, Kraków 2014.

Marchart O., Die Politische Differenz, Frankfurt am Main 2016.

Nipperdey T., Religion in Umbruch, München 1988.

Osterhammel J., Die Verwandlung der Welt. Eine Geschichte des XIX Jahrhunderts, Munich 2008.

Quaritsch H., Positionen und Begriffe Carl Schmitts, Berlin 1989.

Schmitt C., Der Begriff des Politischen, Munich 1932.

Schmitt C., Politik, in: idem, Staat, Grossraum, Nomos. Arbeiten aus den Jahren 1916–1969, Berlin 1995.

Schulze H., Phoenix Europa, Die Moderne, Berlin 1998.

Opublikowane : 2019-12-27

Kaczorowski, P. (2019). Carl Schmitt: Positionen and Begriffe. The Difference Between Politics and the Political. Studia Polityczne, 47(4), 11-29.

Paweł Kaczorowski 
The Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw  Polska