Browsing by Subject "political theory"

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  • Pankakoski, Timo (2021)
    The publication of the correspondence between Reinhart Koselleck and Carl Schmitt enables readers to assess the relation between the conceptual historian and his radically conservative mentor, a topic of some longstanding controversy. In this review essay, I discuss their correspondence in relation to Gennaro Imbriano's book on Koselleck, which also relies on the correspondence to argue that Koselleck gradually transcended his earlier Schmittian beliefs. I seek to capture the current state of scholarship regarding this particular issue and anticipate possible future developments in the field. Although they do not offer major revelations about Koselleck and Schmitt's relationship, the recently published letters add welcome nuance to earlier scholarly estimations thereof and show how Koselleck gradually assumed a more equal role in the exchange. The most fertile theoretical points in the letters pertain, first, to Schmitt's observations about the uniqueness of history and the repetition of key questions in history and, second, to Koselleck's remarks on the need for a proper theoretical basis for historiography, including readjusted historicism and criticism on the philosophy of history's ideological ramifications. Imbriano's book characterizes Koselleck as a systematic thinker of history's political aspect who differed from Schmitt in making the distinction between politics (as a regulating process) and "the political" (as a principle in need of containment). As I argue, this distinction is not sufficient to set Koselleck's moderate conservatism apart from Schmitt's radical conservatism because Schmitt also took both aspects into account. I also predict that future scholarship will display a balanced use of archival material that further clarifies the genesis of Koselleck's theorems, in turn directly serving historical theory by examining its emergence out of concrete historical, political, and intellectual contexts.
  • Helmisaari, Vappu (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    The thesis examines how Thomas Hobbes’s (1588–1679) political thinking is present in three Italian philosophers’ work: Giorgio Agamben (born 1942), Roberto Esposito (born 1950) and Antonio Negri (born 1933). In this sense, it is a reception study of Hobbes’s work in contemporary Italy, more specifically among the Italian biopolitical school. The thesis is in the field of political theory. Quentin Skinner’s work on Hobbes is briefly presented to add a point of comparison to the Italians’ view on Hobbes and to their methodology. The focus of the study is on the Italians’ and Hobbes’s differences in regard to war. The three Italians see war as contrary to how Hobbes saw it: for Hobbes, the sovereign was the one who ended the state of nature which is a state of war, and for the Italians, the sovereign order means a state of war, although this is not always visible. The perspective and method of this enterprise is to look for references of Thomas Hobbes, and more largely, of Hobbesian themes in the writings of Agamben, Esposito and Negri, and to see how they relate to the question of war. Agamben and Negri believe we live in a permanent state of civil war – a civil war, because we live in a world which has no outside. Esposito criticizes Hobbes’s use of the state of nature as an artificial threat to keep the people in a state of fear. All these three Italians come to a different conclusion from Hobbes about the nature of war, as they claim that war does not end by handing power over to the sovereign, but that sovereignty is the prerequisite for waging war in different forms. The three philosophers present alternatives to the sovereignty-based organization of politics. For Agamben, one solution is withdrawal from activity, “inoperativity”. For Esposito, the solution is a community based on non-reciprocal gifts, which he claims is the opposite of Hobbes’s state, based on contract. He wants to enable new spaces of the common and sees hope in recent theoretical discussions on the common good. Negri differs from the two others since he, together with Michael Hardt, explores sovereignty, which is extended to the global level instead of nation-states. However, Hardt and Negri also outline a Multitude which fights the global sovereignty of Empire and rules itself autonomously. All three Italians have an idea of a community that is different from the state sovereignty of nation-states.