Philosophy Today

Volume 68, Issue 1, Winter 2024

Special Topic: On Political Theology

Dario Gentili
Pages 27-39

Decision, Choice, Disclosedness
The Neoliberal Use and Neutralization of Carl Schmitt’s Decisionism

This paper considers whether the category of sovereign “decision,” as it is used in Carl Schmitt’s Political Theology, has analogies with the paradigm of “choice,” as it is theorized in neoliberalism. Both decision and choice belong to that mode of judgement that “cuts” the field of alternatives into two, into two “extreme” alternatives. This mode of judgment not only presupposes the subject of the decision, but also sets up the terms of the choice, clearly indicating the optimal option. For Schmitt, a political decision arises in a “case of necessity”: in the “serious case” of war. And yet, it is precisely the neoliberal depoliticization of war that reduces it to a rule, and every choice fundamentally to a stance for or against. To escape from the neoliberal reduction of political decision in the form of a choice, I examine another mode of decision, absent from Schmitt’s texts: “disclosedness.”

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