Carlo Galli

Emergency and exception: Machiavelli and Schmitt

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Machiavelli, Carl Schmitt, Emergency, Expection

The essay argues that there is a fundamental theoretical difference between two protagonists of the history of political thought. Machiavelli’s thought cannot be confined to the conceptual frame norm/exception, because at its core there is not any idea of the rational form of politics. Therefore, he sees politics as a matter of emergency and contingency. Quite on the contrary, Schmitt includes the categories of decision and exception within a theoretical framework which is at odds with (and anthitetical to) modern normativism. Throughout the essay, the author analyses this fundamental difference relying on the reading of Machiavelli’s texts concerning three issues: the capacity to act in accordance with the times, the institutional proposal of dictatorship and the desirability of virtue. The author argues that the gap between Machiavelli and Schmitt resembles the distance between concrete life and nihilism.

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