T. M.Khabibulin

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  • № 4, 2022

    • Myth of Leviathan (On Giorgio Agamben’s Reading of the Dispute between Walter Benjamin and Carl Schmitt)

      The article is devoted to one of the key disputes for the intellectual history of Europe in the last century, which unfolded in the first half of the 20th century between Walter Benjamin and Carl Schmitt. The starting point of the analysis is the reading of this dispute by Giorgio Agamben. According to Agamben, the main point of disagreement between the two thinkers is the possibility of the existence of violence, completely autonomous from law and sovereign power. Answering this question in the affirmative, Benjamin introduces the category of pure violence, which, from his point of view, is capable of destroying the existing law without recreating the logic of power institutions. Schmitt opposes this argument, appealing to his theory of the state of emergency, in which there is no violence outside the realm of law.

      In the course of the study, the authors take into account another thinker — Georges Sorel, whose views influenced both participants in the dispute. The authors focus on Sorel’s concept of political myth and utilize it to discuss another important point of tension between Benjamin, Schmitt, and Agamben (to the extent that he spoke about the matter of the dispute) — Thomas Hobbes’ treatise Leviathan.

      After analyzing the conflict of interpretations of the eschatological myth ascribed to the treatise, the authors come to the conclusion that de facto at the core of the controversy between Benjamin and Schmitt lies the possibility of overcoming the political myth, which underlies modern political institutions, and the main strategy of the participants of the dispute is the localization of this myth.

      DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2022-107-4-7-22

      Pages: 7-22