This article begins the task of assessing polygamy as a moral ideal. The structure of traditional polygamy, in which only one central spouse may marry multiple partners, necessarily yields two inequalities. The central spouse has greater rights and expectations within each marriage and greater control over the wider family. However, two alternative structures for polygamy can remove these inequalities. In polyfidelity, each spouse marries every other spouse in the family. In “molecular” polygamy, any spouses may marry a new spouse outside (...) the family. These new models of polygamy face additional difficulties, but they can be egalitarian in principle. (shrink)
Leo Strauss's essays and lectures on Maimonides -- Point of departure: why study medieval thinkers? -- How to study medieval philosophy (1944) -- On Maimonides -- Spinoza's critique of Maimonides (1930) -- Cohen and Maimonides (1931) -- The philosophic foundation of the law: Maimonides' doctrine of prophecy and its sources.
Leo Strauss's introductions to ten writings of Moses Mendelssohn -- Preliminary remark by Alexander Altmann -- Introduction to Pope a metaphysician! -- Introduction to "Epistle to Mr. Lessing in Leipzig" -- Introduction to Commentary on Moses Maimonides' "Logical terms" -- Introduction to Treatise on evidence in metaphysical sciences -- Introduction to Phädon -- Introduction to Treatise on the incorporeality of the human soul -- Introduction to "On a handwritten essay of Mr. de Luc's" -- Introduction to The soul -- (...) Introduction to Morning hours and to the friends of Lessing -- Introduction to God's cause, or providence vindicated. (shrink)
Leo Strauss is known primarily for reviving classical political philosophy through careful analyses of works by ancient thinkers. As with his published writings, Strauss’s seminars devoted to specific philosophers were notoriously dense, accessible only to graduate students and scholars with a good command of the subject. In 1965, however, Strauss offered an introductory course on political philosophy at the University of Chicago. Using a conversational style, he sought to make political philosophy, as well as his own ideas (...) and methods, understandable to those with little background on the subject. Leo Strauss on Political Philosophy brings together the lectures that comprise Strauss’s “Introduction to Political Philosophy.” Strauss begins by emphasizing the importance of political philosophy in determining the common good of society and critically examining the two most powerful contemporary challenges to the possibility of using political theory to learn about and develop the best political order: positivism and historicism. In seeking the common good, classical political philosophers like Plato and Aristotle did not distinguish between political philosophy and political science. Today, however, political philosophy must contend with the contemporary belief that it is impossible to know what the good society really is. Strauss emphasizes the need to study the history of political philosophy to see whether the changes in the understanding of nature and conceptions of justice that gradually led people to believe that it is not possible to determine what the best political society is are either necessary or valid. In doing so, he ranges across the entire history of political philosophy, providing a valuable, thematically coherent foundation, including explications of many canonical thinkers, such as Auguste Comte and Immanuel Kant, about whom Strauss did not write extensively in his published writings. (shrink)
The Leo Strauss transcript project -- Editor's introduction: Strauss, Nietzsche, and the history of political philosophy -- Editorial headnote -- Introduction: Nietzsche's philosophy, existentialism, and the problem of our age -- Restoring nature as ethical principle: Zarathustra, prologue -- The creative self: Zarathustra, part 1, 1-8 -- The true individual as the highest goal: Zarathustra, part 1, 9-15 -- Postulated nature and final truth: Zarathustra, part 1, 16-22 -- Truth, interpretation, and intelligibility: Zarathustra, part 2, 1-12 -- Will (...) to power and self-overcoming: Zarathustra, part 2, 15-20 -- Summary and review: fusing Plato and the creative self -- Greek philosophy and the Bible; nature and history: Zarathustra, part 2, 20-22 -- Eternal recurrence: Zarathustra, part 2, 21; part 3, 1-13 -- Survey: Nietzsche and political philosophy -- The goodness of the whole, Socratic and Heideggerian critiques: Zarathustra, part 4-12 -- Creative contemplation: Zarathustra, part 3, 13 -- Restoring the sacred and the final question: Zarathustra, part 4. (shrink)
A transcript of Leo Strauss’s key seminars on Plato’s Protagoras. This book offers a transcript of Strauss’s seminar on Plato’s Protagoras taught at the University of Chicago in the spring quarter of 1965, edited and introduced by renowned scholar Robert C. Bartlett. These lectures have several important features. Unlike his published writings, they are less dense and more conversational. Additionally, while Strauss regarded himself as a Platonist and published some work on Plato, he published little on individual (...) dialogues. In these lectures Strauss treats many of the great Platonic and Straussian themes: the difference between the Socratic political science or art and the Sophistic political science or art of Protagoras; the character and teachability of virtue, its relation to knowledge, and the relations among the virtues, courage, justice, moderation, and wisdom; the good and the pleasant; frankness and concealment; the role of myth; and the relation between freedom of thought and freedom of speech. In these lectures, Strauss examines Protagoras and the sophists, providing a detailed discussion of Protagoras as it relates to Plato’s other dialogues and the work of modern thinkers. This book should be of special interest to students both of Plato and of Strauss. (shrink)
Leo Strauss (1899-1973) a inscrit sa pensée dans l'héritage de la tradition grecque, mais également dans celui de la tradition biblique. Se rapportant au judaïsme comme à une révélation de la Loi (pour laquelle la dimension de la foi est secondaire), il fait retour à une pensée juive (Pourquoi nous restons juifs) et tente de prolonger la réflexion de Maïmonide dans les conditions nouvelles des temps présents. Il s'oppose ainsi à sa rénovation par l'approche phénoménologique de Franz Rosenzweig comme (...) à la pensée de Martin Buber, tout en se tenant à distance de la réflexion sur le mysticisme juif de Gershom Scholem avec lequel il dialogue. Cet ouvrage interroge la manière dont Strauss pense les relations de corrélation et de conflit entre philosophie et judaïsme. En quoi la réflexion sur la Loi, dont il poursuit l'élaboration dans la lignée de la pensée médiévale et à contre-courant de la modernité des Lumières, représente- t-elle un approfondissement de la pensée juive et jette-t-elle une lumière crue sur la situation du judaïsme dans le monde? Quels sont les termes du débat avec les penseurs contemporains du judaïsme avec lesquels il est en relation? Quelles sont aujourd'hui les possibilités et les limites d'une telle réflexion pour la vitalité du judaïsme et de la philosophie? Les études présentes ouvrent des voies différentes, voire divergentes, essentiellement heuristiques, sur les possibilités et les limites de la réflexion straussienne pour la vitalité du judaïsme et de la philosophie. Elles s'accompagnent de la parution d'un texte inédit en français : " La situation religieuse actuelle " (1930), qui représente un moment décisif de la réflexion de Strauss sur la question. (shrink)
The first major piece of unpublished work by Leo Strauss to appear in more than thirty years, "Leo Strauss On Plato's "Symposium"" offers the public the unprecedented experience of encountering this renowned scholar as his students did.
Presents the early published writings of the distinguished political philosopher Leo Strauss, available here for the first time in English. “Zank places at the reader’s disposal the young Strauss’s passionate advocacy of political Zionism and his early confrontations with Spinoza, consideration of whom helped lead Strauss to formulate his teaching on ‘the quarrel between the ancients and the moderns.’” — National Review.
In the winter of 1965, Leo Strauss taught a seminar on Hegel at the University of Chicago. While Strauss neither considered himself a Hegelian nor wrote about Hegel at any length, his writings contain intriguing references to the philosopher, particularly in connection with his studies of Hobbes, in his debate in On Tyranny with Alexandre Kojève; and in his account of the “three waves” of modern political philosophy. Leo Strauss on Hegel reconstructs Strauss’s seminar on Hegel, (...) supplemented by passages from an earlier version of the seminar from which only fragments of a transcript remain. Strauss focused his seminar on the lectures collected in The Philosophy of History, which he considered more accessible than Hegel’s written works. In his own lectures on Hegel, Strauss continues his project of demonstrating how modern philosophers related to ancient thought and explores the development and weaknesses of modern political theory. Strauss is especially concerned with the relationship in Hegel between empirical history and his philosophy of history, and he argues for the primacy of religion in Hegel’s understanding of history and society. In addition to a relatively complete transcript, Leo Strauss on Hegel also includes annotations, which bring context and clarity to the text. (shrink)
On Tyranny is Leo Strauss’s classic reading of Xenophon’s dialogue Hiero, or Tyrannicus, in which the tyrant Hiero and the poet Simonides discuss the advantages and disadvantages of exercising tyranny. Included are a translation of the dialogue from its original Greek, a critique of Strauss’s commentary by the French philosopher Alexandre Kojève, and the complete correspondence between the two. This revised and expanded edition introduces important corrections throughout and expands Strauss’s restatement of his position in light of (...) Kojève’s commentary to bring it into conformity with the text as it was originally published in France. (shrink)
This monograph identifies the essential characteristics of the objects described by current quantum theory and considers their relationship to space-time. In the process, it explicates the senses in which quantum objects may be consistently considered to have parts of which they may be composed or into which they may be decomposed. The book also demonstrates the degree to which reduction is possible in quantum mechanics, showing it to be related to the objective indefiniteness of quantum properties and the strong non-local (...) correlations that can occur between the physical quantities of quantum subsystems. Careful attention is paid to the relationships among such property correlations, physical causation, probability, and symmetry in quantum theory. In this way, the text identifies and clarifies the conceptual grounds underlying the unique nature of many quantum phenomena. (shrink)
Natural Right and History is widely recognized as Strauss’s most influential work. The six lectures, written while Strauss was at the New School, and a full transcript of the 1949 Walgreen Lectures show Strauss working toward the ideas he would present in fully matured form in his landmark work. In them, he explores natural right and the relationship between modern philosophers and the thought of the ancient Greek philosophers, as well as the relation of political philosophy to (...) contemporary political science and to major political and historical events, especially the Holocaust and World War II. Previously unpublished in book form, Strauss’s lectures are presented here in a thematic order that mirrors Natural Right and History and with interpretive essays by J. A. Colen, Christopher Lynch, Svetozar Minkov, Daniel Tanguay, Nathan Tarcov, and Michael Zuckert that establish their relation to the work. Rounding out the book are copious annotations and notes to facilitate further study. (shrink)
This book argues two main things: The first is that there is no such thing as free will—at least not in the sense most ordinary folk take to be central or fundamental; the second is that the strong and pervasive belief in free will can be accounted for through a careful analysis of our phenomenology and a proper theoretical understanding of consciousness.
Gregg Lambert demonstrates that since the publication of _Proust and Signs_ in 1964 Gilles Deleuze’s search for a new means of philosophical expression became a central theme of all of his oeuvre, including those written with psychoanalyst Félix Guattari. Lambert, like Deleuze, calls this “the image of thought.” Lambert’s exploration begins with Deleuze’s earliest exposition of the Proustian image of thought and then follows the “tangled history” of the image that runs through subsequent works, such as _Kafka: Toward a (...) Minor Literature_, _The Rhizome_, and several later writings from the 1980s collected in _Essays Critical and Clinical._ Lambert shows how this topic underlies Deleuze’s studies of modern cinema, where the image of thought is predominant in the analysis of the cinematic image—particularly in _The Time-Image_. Lambert finds it to be the fundamental concern of the brain proposed by Deleuze in the conclusion of _What Is Philosophy? _By connecting the various appearances of the image of thought that permeate Deleuze’s entire corpus, Lambert reveals how thinking first assumes an image, how the images of thought become identified with the problem of expression early in the works, and how this issue turns into a primary motive for the more experimental works of philosophy written with Guattari. The study traces a distinctly modern relationship between philosophy and non-philosophy that has developed into a hallmark of the term “Deleuzian.” However, Lambert argues, this aspect of the philosopher’s vision has not been fully appreciated in terms of its significance for philosophy: “not only ‘for today’ but, to quote Nietzsche, meaning also ‘for tomorrow, and for the day after tomorrow.’”. (shrink)
This book explores the philosophical and scientific arguments for free will skepticism and their implications. Skepticism about free will and moral responsibility has been on the rise in recent years. In fact, a significant number of philosophers, psychologists, and neuroscientists now either doubt or outright deny the existence of free will and/or moral responsibility—and the list of prominent skeptics appears to grow by the day. Given the profound importance that the concepts of free will and moral responsibility play in our (...) lives—in understanding ourselves, society, and the law—it is important that we explore what is behind this new wave of skepticism. It is also important that we explore the potential consequences of skepticism for ourselves and society. This edited collection of new essays brings together an internationally recognized line-up of contributors, most of whom hold skeptical positions of some sort, to display and explore the leading arguments for free will skepticism and to debate their implications. It includes original contributions by Derk Pereboom, Galen Strawson, Ted Honderich, Bruce Waller, Neil Levy, Saul Smilansky, Thomas Nadelhoffer and Daniela Goya Tocchetto, Benjamin Vilhauer, Susan Blackmore, Manuel Vargas, Shaun Nichols, John-Dylan Haynes and Michael Pauen, Thomas Clark, Mark Hallett, Susan Pockett, and Maureen Sie. (shrink)
What place does consciousness have in the natural world? If we reject materialism, could there be a credible alternative? In one classic example, philosophers ask whether we can ever know what is it is like for bats to sense the world using sonar. It seems obvious to many that any amount of information about a bat's physical structure and information processing leaves us guessing about the central questions concerning the character of its experience. A Place for Consciousness begins with reflections (...) on the existence of this gap. Is it just a psychological shortcoming in our merely human understanding of the physical world? Is it a trivial consequence of the simple fact that we just cannot be bats? Or does it mean there really are facts about consciousness over and above the physical facts? If so, what does consciousness do? Why does it exist? Rosenberg sorts out these problems, especially those centering on the causal role of consciousness. He introduces a new paradigm called Liberal Naturalism for thinking about what causation is, about the natural world, and about how to create a detailed model to go along with the new paradigm. Arguing that experience is part of the categorical foundations of causality, he shows that within this new paradigm there is a place for something essentially like consciousness in all its traditional mysterious respects. A striking feature of Liberal Naturalism is that its central tenets are motivated independently of the mind-body problem, by analyzing causation itself. Because of this approach, when consciousness shows up in the picture it is not introduced in an ad hoc way, and its most puzzling features can be explained from first principles. Ultimately, Rosenberg's final solution gives consciousness a causally important role without supposing either that it is physical or that it interacts with the physical. (shrink)
In recent decades, there has been growing interest among philosophers in what the various Buddhist traditions have said, can say, and should say, in response to the traditional problem of free will. This article investigates the relationship between Buddhist philosophy and the historical problem of free will. It begins by critically examining Rick Repetti's Buddhism, Meditation, and Free Will (2019), in which he argues for a conception of “agentless agency” and defends a view he calls “Buddhist soft compatibilism.” It then (...) turns to a more wide‐ranging discussion of Buddhism and free will—one that foregrounds Buddhist ethics and takes seriously what the various Buddhist traditions have said about desert, punishment, and the reactive attitudes of resentment, indignation, and moral anger. The article aims to show that, not only is Buddhism best conceived as endorsing a kind of free will skepticism, Buddhist ethics can provide a helpful guide to living without basic desert moral responsibility and free will. (shrink)
Within the criminal justice system, one of the most prominent justifications for legal punishment is retributivism. The retributive justification of legal punishment maintains that wrongdoers are morally responsible for their actions and deserve to be punished in proportion to their wrongdoing. This book argues against retributivism and develops a viable alternative that is both ethically defensible and practical. Introducing six distinct reasons for rejecting retributivism, Gregg D. Caruso contends that it is unclear that agents possess the kind of free (...) will and moral responsibility needed to justify this view of punishment. While a number of alternatives to retributivism exist - including consequentialist deterrence, educational, and communicative theories - they have ethical problems of their own. Moving beyond existing theories, Caruso presents a new non-retributive approach called the public health-quarantine model. In stark contrast to retributivism, the public health-quarantine model provides a more human, holistic, and effective approach to dealing with criminal behavior. (shrink)
Leo Strauss and Emmanuel Levinas, two twentieth-century Jewish philosophers and two extremely provocative thinkers whose reputations have grown considerably over the last twenty years, are rarely studied together. This is due to the disparate interests of many of their intellectual heirs. Strauss has influenced political theorists and policy makers on the right while Levinas has been championed in the humanities by different cadres associated with postmodernist thought. In Leo Strauss and Emmanuel Levinas: Philosophy and the Politics of (...) Revelation, Leora Batnitzky brings together these two seemingly incongruous contemporaries, demonstrating that they often had the same philosophical sources and their projects had many formal parallels. While such a comparison is valuable in itself for better understanding each figure, it also raises profound questions in the current debate on the definitions of 'religion', suggesting new ways that religion makes claims on both philosophy and politics. (shrink)
Leo Strauss's controversial writings have long exercised a profound subterranean cultural influence. Now their impact is emerging into broad daylight, where they have been met with a flurry of poorly informed, often wildly speculative, and sometimes rather paranoid pronouncements. This book, written as a corrective, is the first accurate, non-polemical, comprehensive guide to Strauss's mature political philosophy and its intellectual influence. Thomas L. Pangle opens a pathway into Strauss's major works with one question: How does Strauss's (...) philosophic thinking contribute to our democracy's civic renewal and to our culture's deepening, critical self-understanding? This book includes a synoptic critical survey of writings from scholars who have extended Strauss's influence into the more practical, sub-philosophic fields of social and political science and commentary. Pangle shows how these analysts have in effect imported Straussian impulses into a "new" kind of political and social science. (shrink)
The influential political philosopher Leo Strauss has been credited by conservatives with the recovery of the great tradition of political philosophy stretching back to Plato. Among Strauss's most enduring legacies is a strongly negative assessment of Nietzsche as the modern philosopher most at odds with that tradition and most responsible for the sins of twentieth-century culture--relativism, godlessness, nihilism, and the breakdown of family values. In fact, this apparent denunciation has become so closely associated with Strauss that it (...) is often seen as the very core of his thought. In Leo Strauss and Nietzsche, the eminent Nietzsche scholar Laurence Lampert offers a controversial new assessment of the Strauss-Nietzsche connection. Lampert undertakes a searching examination of the key Straussian essay, "Note on the Plan of Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil." He shows that this essay, written toward the end of Strauss's life and placed at the center of his final work, reveals an affinity for and debt to Nietzsche greater than Strauss's followers allow. Lampert argues that the essay comprises the most important interpretation of Nietzsche ever published, one that clarifies Nietzsche's conception of nature and of human spiritual history and demonstrates the logical relationship between the essential themes in Nietzsche's thought--the will to power and the eternal return. (shrink)
Skepticism about moral responsibility, or what is more commonly referred to as moral responsibility skepticism, refers to a family of views that all take seriously the possibility that human beings are never morally responsible for their actions in a particular but pervasive sense. This sense is typically set apart by the notion of basic desert and is defined in terms of the control in action needed for an agent to be truly deserving of blame and praise. Some moral responsibility skeptics (...) wholly reject this notion of moral responsibility because they believe it to be incoherent or impossible. Others maintain that, though possible, our best philosophical and scientific theories about the world provide strong and compelling reasons for adopting skepticism about moral responsibility. What all varieties of moral responsibility skepticism share, however, is the belief that the justification needed to ground basic desert moral responsibility and the practices associated with it—such as backward-looking praise and blame, punishment and reward (including retributive punishment), and the reactive attitudes of resentment and indignation—is not met. Versions of moral responsibility skepticism have historically been defended by Spinoza, Voltaire, Diderot, d’Holbach, Priestley, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Clarence Darrow, B.F. Skinner, and Paul Edwards, and more recently by Galen Strawson, Derk Pereboom, Bruce Waller, Neil Levy, Tamler Sommers, and Gregg D. Caruso. -/- Critics of these views tend to focus both on the arguments for skepticism about moral responsibility and on the implications of such views. They worry that adopting such a view would have dire consequences for our interpersonal relationships, society, morality, meaning, and the law. They fear, for instance, that relinquishing belief in moral responsibility would undermine morality, leave us unable to adequately deal with criminal behavior, increase anti-social conduct, and destroy meaning in life. Optimistic skeptics, however, respond by arguing that life without free will and basic desert moral responsibility would not be as destructive as many people believe. These optimistic skeptics argue that prospects of finding meaning in life or of sustaining good interpersonal relationships, for instance, would not be threatened. They further maintain that morality and moral judgments would remain intact. And although retributivism and severe punishment, such as the death penalty, would be ruled out, they argue that the imposition of sanctions could serve purposes other than the punishment of the guilty—e.g., it can also be justified by its role in incapacitating, rehabilitating, and deterring offenders. (shrink)
Leo Strauss argued that the most visible fact about Machiavelli's doctrine is also the most useful one: Machiavelli seems to be a teacher of wickedness. Strauss sought to incorporate this idea in his interpretation without permitting it to overwhelm or exhaust his exegesis of The Prince and the Discourses on the First Ten Books of Livy . "We are in sympathy," he writes, "with the simple opinion about Machiavelli [namely, the wickedness of his teaching], not only because it (...) is wholesome, but above all because a failure to take that opinion seriously prevents one from doing justice to what is truly admirable in Machiavelli: the intrepidity of his thought, the grandeur of his vision, and the graceful subtlety of his speech." This critique of the founder of modern political philosophy by this prominent twentieth-century scholar is an essential text for students of both authors. (shrink)
Human genetic enhancement, examined from the standpoint of the new field of political bioethics, displaces the age-old question of truth: What is human nature? This book displaces that question with another: What kind of human nature should humans want to create for themselves? To answer that question, this book answers two others: What constraints should limit the applications of rapidly developing biotechnologies? What could possibly form the basis for corresponding public policy in a democratic society? Benjamin Gregg focuses on (...) the distinctly political dimensions of human nature, where politics refers to competition among competing values on which to base public policy, legislation, and political culture. This book offers citizens of democratic communities a broad perspective on how they together might best approach urgent questions of how to deal with the socially and morally challenging potential for human genetic engineering. (shrink)