Dialogue and Universalism

Volume 14, Issue 3/4, 2004

In Honor of Leszek Kołakowski

Jadwiga Staniszkis, Philip Earl Steele
Pages 87-105

The Rise and Demise of the Metaphysics of the State

Two streams of political thought will be presented: metaphysics of State (that started in the 14th century with the Ockhamian nominalism and ended with the “political theology” of Carl Schmidt and Weberian rationalization and “dictatorship of form”) and metaphysics of Power (from Nietzsche and Kierkegaard to Derrida, with power as imposed discontinuity). An impact of globalization concealing both traditions (and leading to de-politization, de-hierarchization and de-ontologization of power) will be analyzed, with the present evolution of European Union as an example. Structural violence (as a case of structural power, characteristic of globalization) will be shown in a post-communist context.