Carl Schmitt, Reinhart Koselleck and the foundations of history and politics

History of European Ideas 37 (2):197-208 (2011)

Abstract
This article explores the intellectual relations between Carl Schmitt and the German historian Reinhart Koselleck with a focus on the inspiration that Koselleck found in Schmitt's work in the early 1950s. The article goes beyond earlier contributions in the field by illuminating how the most important discursive features that Koselleck drew from Schmitt were utilized toward a very independent intellectual project. This project concerned an attempt to revise modern political thought by means of outlining a new concept of history. Koselleck's concept of history was to depart from all utopian notions of history as a singular, unified and goal-directed process. Instead, it aimed to outline certain fundamental existential structures of the human condition and to take account of the social relations existing among human beings in order to understand and contain the potential conflict in human societies. Hence Koselleck believed that his new concept of history would lead to a more responsible foundation of political order and decision making. Following an analysis of how Koselleck developed his project in a dialogue with the work of Schmitt and a number of other scholars, first of all Friedrich Meinecke and Martin Heidegger, the article presents a brief perspective on how his new concept of history was received in the 1950s and on how it came to provide his work with a certain analytical, thematic and argumentative unity
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DOI 10.1016/j.histeuroideas.2010.11.012
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