Philosophy and Social Criticism 38 (7):725-743 (2012)

The thesis of political theology holds that all justificatory theories of the state rely on metaphysical assumptions, rather than just empirical facts and accepted political conventions. For this reason, the thesis challenges liberal theories that justify the state on the basis of individual autonomy and popular will. The thesis is controversial because many theorists believe that metaphysical assumptions introduce decisionism – the view that a state depends on the unrestrained personal decision of a ruler – to the theory of the state. But, does political theology entail decisionism? This article argues that decisionism does not follow necessarily from political theology because an omnipotent deciding sovereign is only one of many possible metaphysical assumptions in theology. It illustrates this claim with examples from the philosophy of Nicholas Cusanus and process philosophy. This conclusion challenges two different entrenched views: first, that the modern state is a continuation of theistic beliefs; and second, that metaphysical discussions have no place in contemporary normative political theory.
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DOI 10.1177/0191453712447780
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References found in this work BETA

Justice as Fairness: Political Not Metaphysical.John Rawls - 1985 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 14 (3):223-251.
On Political Theology and the Possibility of Superseding It.Paulina Ochoa Espejo - 2010 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 13 (4):475-494.

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Just Do It: Pragma, Prehension, and Planetary Politics. Keller - 2015 - American Journal of Theology and Philosophy 36 (2):107.

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