The idea of political space
The present thesis attempts to address one of the fundamental questions of political philosophy -what is the political? - by theorising it in terms of a political space. It is assumed here that the political cannot first be determined in some substantial or normative way; the political, as distinguished from politics, constitutes the utmost ground of human living together. Political space refers precisely to this problematic field that determines human existence in its entirety. The introduction briefly sketches the initial conception of political space, understood as an inquiry into the conditions of possibility of political experience. The first part deals with Immanuel Kant's political thought, and tries to establish the concept of publicity (in its both affirmative and negative formulations) as a central political idea which integrates his doctrine of right (Rechtslehre) with his maxims of Enlightenment. After this initial outline, the main attention of the thesis focuses on two outstanding political thinkers of the last century: Carl Schmitt and Hannah Arendt. The second part argues, with respect to Schmitt, that his notorious friend-enemy distinction— which serves as the criterion of the political-presupposes the condition which has been left throughout in its German original: Öffentlichkeit (publicity, or public realm). It is argued, more generally, that the concept of the political has the structure of publicity. The subsequent inquiry into the concept of an Öffentlichkeit attempts to flesh out its nature, status, and political potential. The third part, dealing with Arendt's political thought, opens up anew the topic of an Öffentlichkeit by utilizing Arendtian conceptual tools in order to analyse and articulate further the exceptional and yet promising nature of this public realm. Finally, the conclusion recapitulates once again the basic motives and insights of this study, and briefly indicates certain parallel theoretical trends which testify to the importance and relevance of the subject matter which has been explored here.