'Potentia' as 'potestas': An interpretation of modern politics between Thomas Hobbes and Carl Schmitt

Philosophy and Social Criticism 36 (2):231-252 (2010)
The present article discusses the relationship between might ( potentia ) and power ( potestas ) as it has unfolded throughout the modern age, from Thomas Hobbes to Carl Schmitt. Hobbes indicates the way forward for a progressive linguistic and conceptual coincidence of potentia and potestas : the goal of Hobbesian political philosophy (the search for peace and security) necessitates the reduction of potentia to potestas through the elimination of the content of actus . Schmitt accepts this reduction, by assigning priority to potestas : the image of modern technology as a privileged dimension of potentia—potestas comes together as the modern state. Instead of taking the route of potentia understood as an opening-up to new possibilities and as human self-affirmation, the language of potentia—potestas has triggered a process, which is that of a naturalization of power relations, that is based on and justified by the social inequality arising from the differing extent of ownership of the instruments of technological production
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 9,360
External links
  • Through your library Configure
    References found in this work BETA

    No references found.

    Citations of this work BETA

    No citations found.

    Similar books and articles

    Monthly downloads

    Added to index


    Total downloads

    62 ( #20,246 of 1,089,047 )

    Recent downloads (6 months)

    1 ( #69,722 of 1,089,047 )

    How can I increase my downloads?

    My notes
    Sign in to use this feature

    Start a new thread
    There  are no threads in this forum
    Nothing in this forum yet.