Versita

NATURAL LAW AND POLITICAL ONTOLOGY: A HISTORICO-PHILOSOPHICAL OUTLINE OF A MAJOR HUMAN TRANSFORMATION

Tomas Berkmanas
Keywords: Natural law, political ontology, Carl Schmitt, epistemology, analytic philosophy ,

Abstract

The article explores the possibility of comprehending natural law, together with an alternative to the Schmittean political, through an inquiry into the layers of professional philosophy with a special focus on epistemology and analytic philosophy. The starting point of the research is the controversy surrounding the ideas of Carl Schmitt, in which it is unclear what lies at the origin of law and the political — sovereign decision or the situation (Part I)? The latter possibility directs the inquiry to the conceptual field related to natural law and epistemology. Proceeding via both diachronic and synchronic perspectives, the inquiry further analyses what has happened to natural law in modernity, and what its current status is, theorizing both streams of inquiry under the concept of political exile (Part II). The Schmittean political happens to be very much at home in this context, opening up the coherent ideological framework that may be called modern political ontology, which at first appears to camouflage Schmittean antagonistic political praxis (Part III). However, through inquiry into ideas mostly attributable to analytic philosophy (or philosophy of language), this ontology is also shown to function as an ‘anti-onto’-logy — that is, as a direct (i.e. open, not hidden) ideological basis for modern political praxis. The analysis here also discloses the rivalry inside professional philosophy in relation to ‘anti-onto’-logy, the latter finding its disciplinary origin(s) in language itself. It shows that at the level of professional philosophy there is a general trend that could be helpful in the attempt to revive natural law (Part IV).