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On the Idea of Potency

Juridical and Theological Roots of the Western Cultural Tradition

Emanuele Castrucci

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A critique of the metaphysical concept of power and potency in the history of Western jurisprudence

Sweeping through the history of Western philosophy of law, Emanuele Castrucci deals with the metaphysical idea of potency as defined by Spinoza and Nietzsche, upsetting entrenched theories of jurisprudence.

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I. The Logos of Potency. A theoretical Introduction

II. Logos of ‘Potentia Dei’

III. ‘Ordained potency’ vs. ‘Absolute Potency’

IV. Political Theology Reconsidered

V. Genealogies of Constituent Potency. Schmitt, Nietzsche, Spinoza

Corollaries: I. On the Origins of Conventionalist Political Philosophy in the Seventeenth Century

II. The Problem of a Political Theology

III. Rhetoric of Ethical Universalism. Jürgen Habermas and the Dissolution of Political Realism


Index of names

About the Author

Emanuele Castrucci is Professor of Philosophy of Law at the University of Siena. He taught previously at the Universities of Florence and Genoa. His studies mainly concern the domain of the history of legal and political ideas, which include such areas as the sources and forms of modern European legal thought, the reconstruction of the legal theory of the early 20th century German State and the theological roots of the cultural tradition of Western civilization. He has contributed to the diffusion in Italy of the thought of Carl Schmitt, editing the Italian edition of Der Nomos der Erde im Völkerrecht des Jus publicum Europaeum (1991).

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