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Carnal Enlightenment: The Myth of Enlightened Reason and Two Carnal Conceptions of the State

Cvijanović, Hrvoje
Carnal Enlightenment: The Myth of Enlightened Reason and Two Carnal Conceptions of the State // Politička misao : Croatian Political Science Review, 48 (2011), 1; 76-93 (podatak o recenziji nije dostupan, članak, znanstveni)

Carnal Enlightenment: The Myth of Enlightened Reason and Two Carnal Conceptions of the State

Cvijanović, Hrvoje

Politička misao : Croatian Political Science Review (0032-3241) 48 (2011), 1; 76-93

Vrsta, podvrsta i kategorija rada
Radovi u časopisima, članak, znanstveni

Ključne riječi
Enlightenment; state; carnal; Adorno and Horkheimer; Carl Schmitt

The state in the modern sense ought to appear as the instrument of Reason able to control the passions. This is the modern myth of the state which has been fortified through the age of Enlightenment. However, the concept of ‘enlightened reason’ that lies behind the idea of the state is just a myth and thus is false. Rather, the modern state becomes the highest embodiment of ‘carnal reason’. As such, carnal reason manifests itself through the idea of self-preservation or life-preserving in general which feeds on human desire for domination over nature and over men themselves. Thus, the modern state provides the framework for the carnal discharge of sadistic passions in the name of the myth of ‘enlightened reason’. The argument is that the Enlightenment has deceptively presented its goals as the cravings of Reason while deliberately concealing its carnal foundations. Namely, I differentiate between the sado-masochistic core of enlightenment and its rhetorical or intellectual mask. The life-preserving drive that inevitably transmutes into comprehensive destruction of the self, as well as destruction of the others and of the entire environment is upheld through the legal framework of the state. I argue that it is this carnal reason that provides the foundation for the modern state, as opposed to that historically propagated ideal of ‘enlightened reason’. However, if the state represents the ultimate embodiment of ‘carnal reason’ there are at least two possible responses to that condition. The first one recognizes ‘carnal reason’ as an obstacle for the fulfillment of enlightenment ideals or as a betrayal of the idea of the state. This is the criticism developed by Horkheimer and Adorno in their diatribe of enlightenment and of the state both of which have been described as totalitarian and life-denying. On the other hand, the carnal conception of the state, separated from the burden of moral argument, has been defended by Carl Schmitt as the fact of the political. Two carnal conceptions of the state represent two different articulations which should be juxtaposed and illuminated.

Izvorni jezik

Znanstvena područja


Projekt / tema
015-0151680-1335 - Politički deficit Europske unije i njegove posljedice za Hrvatsku (Zoran Kurelić, )

Fakultet političkih znanosti, Zagreb

Autor s matičnim brojem:
Hrvoje Cvijanović, (262571)

Časopis indeksira:

  • Web of Science Core Collection (WoSCC)
    • Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI)

Uključenost u ostale bibliografske baze podataka:

  • International Political Science Abstracts
  • Worldwide Political Science Abstracts