Decision and Secularization in Reflections Made by a Young Carl Schmitt

Pedro H. Villas Bôas Castelo Branco About the author


This article aims to shed light on writings of the young Carl Schmitt in order to highlight their relevance to an understanding of several of the most significant concepts developed throughout Schmitt’s political-legal reflections. Despite the fact that such works – written from 1910 to 1914 – remain relatively unknown, sections of them contain early glimpses of the development of concepts that are not only indispensable to an understanding of Schmitt’s works, but also to a clarifying of vocabulary central to contemporary political theory. In this context, the present study reviews one of Schmitt’s earliest works with the aim of revealing how the concepts of decision, secularization, exception, and political theology were developed. Reviewing works by the author relegated until now to the secondary sphere thus sheds light on the shaping of several concepts, not only allowing us to question interpretations to have neglected them, but also drawing our attention to the current relevance of Schmitt’s conceptual tools.

law; will; sacralization; secularization; decision

Instituto de Estudos Sociais e Políticos (IESP) da Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (UERJ) R. da Matriz, 82, Botafogo, 22260-100 Rio de Janeiro RJ Brazil, Tel. (55 21) 2266-8300, Fax: (55 21) 2266-8345 - Rio de Janeiro - RJ - Brazil