Volume 2, 2006
Social and Political Philosophy
Legitimacy as Coincidentia Oppositorum
The Meaning of the Political in Rawls and Schmitt
This article aims to elaborate two meanings of the category of the political in relation to the question of legitimacy in constitutional regimes: John Rawls's conception constructed on the regulative ideal of political neutrality and Carl Schmitt's notion of the political as friend-enemy distinction relying on a logic of exclusion. A comparative textual examination explicates that these two approaches imply opposed meanings to be attributed to the nature, essence, and boundary of the political, although both thinkers have the common aim of developing a theory of the political realm free of religious, metaphysical, and ideological connotations.