Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: May 06, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412958660 | Print ISBN: 9781412958653 | Online ISBN: 9781412958660 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Schmitt, Carl (1888–1985)
John P. McCormick
Carl Schmitt was a renowned conservative jurist and political theorist in Germany's Weimar Republic who ultimately incurred infamy as an enthusiastic supporter of Hitler's Third Reich. From “exile” in his provincial hometown, Plettenberg, Schmitt exerted a shadowy but extensive influence over postwar social and political philosophy, as well as constitutional and international law. Each of his short and forceful Weimar era books accentuated some deficiency of Enlightenment thought and/or liberal political practice. Political Theology (1922) argued that liberal jurisprudence's inattention to legal gaps highlighted the Enlightenment's more general inability to account for “the exception,” Schmitt's word for phenomena that cannot be circumscribed or predicted by rationalist systems of thought. This work, along with Roman Catholicism and Political Form (1923), insisted that transcendental, extrarational, and supramaterial sources are necessary to ground moral-political authority; and, furthermore, that the revolt against authority, as such, posed by Russian anarchism and communism would destroy Crisis ...