Carl Schmitt and the Question of Political Experience

Carl Schmitt is known to us as an acute though controversial political thinker but his biographer tells us an unnerving story that might seem to undermine his claim to our attention. The case raises broader questions, I want to suggest, about the relation of political thought to experience. This proves, however, an elusive topic and something needs to be said about it before I can turn directly to Schmitt and the story about him I have in mind.