Philosophy Today

Volume 68, Issue 1, Winter 2024

Special Topic: On Political Theology

Saul Newman
Pages 109-127

Political Theology and the Anthropocene

Carl Schmitt’s political theology—which refers to the translation of theological concepts into secular political and legal categories, namely sovereignty and the state of exception—is defined against a background of “metaphysical” constellations where, according to Schmitt, bourgeois individualism and the nihilism of technology have come to dominate the modern age. My argument is that our contemporary age is dominated by a new “metaphysical” constellation—the Anthropocene. This condition—to which the ecological crisis is inextricably related—demands an entirely different kind of political theology to Schmitt’s sovereign-centric and anthropocentric version. As an alternative, I propose a political theology of planetary entanglement and care based on approaches from eco-political theology (Moltmann, Latour, Keller) and animal studies (Deleuze, Agamben, and Ciamatti).