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Vol 23 No 5 May/June 2018

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On the Idea of Potency: Juridical and Theological Roots of the Western Cultural Tradition

ISBN13: 9781474411851
Published: July 2016
Publisher: Edinburgh University Press
Country of Publication: Scotland
Format: Paperback
Price: £19.99
Hardback edition , ISBN13 9781474411844

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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. Castrucci first addresses how the idea of potency can change the meaning of the power ascribed to an omnipotent God. This brings together classical Greek philosophy with Jewish biblical exegesis, which Castrucci links through the juncture of Christianity. He then relates potency to the classical philosophical tradition in Aristotle's Metaphysics and its Arabic interpretations, particularly Ibn Rushd's (Averroes). This leads us to the genesis of natural law theory in Western philosophy, from Augustine to Aquinas and from Duns Scotus to Ockham. Moving on, Castrucci examines the inherently problematic concept of political theology, pitting Spinozan-Nietzschean potency against Kant and Enlightenment natural law to reveal the weaknesses inherent in the Enlightenment system. Finally, Castrucci applies the theories of Carl Schmitt to the philosophical rationalism of the Western tradition, showing us how it has failed to contain absolute power in a juridical sense.

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

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

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