Schmitt, Carl

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Book Chapter

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concept of the political democracy legal theory liberalism political theory sovereignty

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Carl Schmitt was a lawyer and philosopher of law whose writings on politics and social theory led to his being known as the Hobbes of the twentieth century. His criticisms of liberalism and naive humanitarianism and secularism were startlingly original and extreme, and attracted intellectuals on the Left as well as on the Right. His basic ideas about society revolved around the problem of the location and sources of the power of the state, which he styled as a mortal god. His most influential ideas included his account of the concept of the political in terms of the possibility of war and the friend–enemy distinction.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Schmitt, Carl, in B. S. Turner, C. Kyung-Sup, C. F. Epstein, P. Kivisto, W. Outhwaite & J. M. Ryan (Eds.), The Wiley‐Blackwell Encyclopedia of Social Theory, John Wiley & Sons