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.
The first major piece of unpublished work by Leo Strauss to appear in more than thirty years, "Leo Strauss On Plato's "Symposium"" offers the public the unprecedented experience of encountering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.
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)
Natural Right and History (Chicago, 1953).Leo Strauss - 1953 - The Correspondence Between Ethical Egoists and Natural Rights Theorists is Considerable Today, as Suggested by a Comparison of My" Recent Work in Ethical Egoism," American Philosophical Quarterly 16 (2):1-15.details
In this classic work, Leo Strauss examines the problem of natural right and argues that there is a firm foundation in reality for the distinction between right and wrong in ethics and politics. On the centenary of Strauss's birth, and the fiftieth anniversary of the Walgreen Lectures which spawned the work, _Natural Right and History_ remains as controversial and essential as ever. "Strauss... makes a significant contribution towards an understanding of the intellectual crisis in which we find ourselves... [and] brings (...) to his task an admirable scholarship and a brilliant, incisive mind."—John H. Hallowell, _American Political Science Review_ Leo Strauss was the Robert Maynard Hutchins Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in Political Science at the University of Chicago. (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)
The essays collected in Persecution and the Art of Writing all deal with one problem--the relation between philosophy and politics. Here, Strauss sets forth the thesis that many philosophers, especially political philosophers, have reacted to the threat of persecution by disguising their most controversial and heterodox ideas.
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)
Leo Strauss articulates the conflict between reason and revelation as he explores Spinoza's scientific, comparative, and textual treatment of the Bible. Strauss compares Spinoza's Theologico-political Treatise and the Epistles, showing their relation to critical controversy on religion from Epicurus and Lucretius through Uriel da Costa and Isaac Peyrere to Thomas Hobbes. Strauss's autobiographical Preface, traces his dilemmas as a young liberal intellectual in Germany during the Weimar Republic, as a scholar in exile, and as a leader of American philosophical thought. (...) "[For] those interested in Strauss the political philosopher, and also those who doubt whether we have achieved the 'final solution' in respect to either the character of political science or the problem of the relation of religion to the state." -- Journal of Politics "A substantial contribution to the thinking of all those interested in the ageless problems of faith, revelation, and reason." -- Kirkus Reviews Leo Strauss (1899-1973) was the Robert Maynard Hutchins Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of political science at the University of Chicago. His contributions to political science include The Political Philosophy of Hobbes, The City and the Man, What is Political Philosophy?, and Liberalism Ancient and Modern. (shrink)
"All political action has . . . in itself a directedness towards knowledge of the good: of the good life, or of the good society. For the good society is the complete political good. If this directedness becomes explicit, if men make it their explicit goal to acquire knowledge of the good life and of the good society, political philosophy emerges. . . . The theme of political philosophy is mankind's great objectives, freedom and government or empire--objectives which are capable (...) of lifting all men beyond their poor selves. Political philosophy is that branch of philosophy which is closest to political life, to non-philosophic life, to human life."--From "What Is Political Philosophy?" What Is Political Philosophy? --a collection of ten essays and lectures and sixteen book reviews written between 1943 and 1957--contains some of Leo Strauss's most famous writings and some of his most explicit statements of the themes that made him famous. The title essay records Strauss's sole extended articulation of the meaning of political philosophy itself. Other essays discuss the relation of political philosophy to history, give an account of the political philosophy of the non-Christian Middle Ages and of classic European modernity, and present his theory of esoteric writing. (shrink)
Leo Strauss and his alleged political influence regarding the Iraq War have in recent years been the subject of significant media attention, including stories in the _Wall Street Journal _and _New York Times._ _Time_ magazine even called him “one of the most influential men in American politics.” With _The Truth about Leo Strauss_, Michael and Catherine Zuckert challenged the many claims and speculations about this notoriously complex thinker. Now, with _Leo Strauss and the Problem of Political Philosophy_, they turn their (...) attention to a searching and more comprehensive interpretation of Strauss’s thought as a whole, using the many manifestations of the “problem of political philosophy” as their touchstone. For Strauss, political philosophy presented a “problem” to which there have been a variety of solutions proposed over the course of Western history. Strauss’s work, they show, revolved around recovering—and restoring—political philosophy to its original Socratic form. Since positivism and historicism represented two intellectual currents that undermined the possibility of a Socratic political philosophy, the first part of the book is devoted to Strauss’s critique of these two positions. Then, the authors explore Strauss’s interpretation of the history of philosophy and both ancient and modern canonical political philosophers, including Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, and Locke. Strauss’s often-unconventional readings of these philosophers, they argue, pointed to solutions to the problem of political philosophy. Finally, the authors examine Strauss’s thought in the context of the twentieth century, when his chief interlocutors were Schmitt, Husserl, Heidegger, and Nietzsche. The most penetrating and capacious treatment of the political philosophy of this complex and often misunderstood thinker, from his early years to his last works, _Leo Strauss and the Problem of Political Philosophy_ reveals Strauss’s writings as an attempt to show that the distinctive characteristics of ancient and modern thought derive from different modes of solving the problem of political philosophy and reveal why he considered the ancient solution both philosophically and politically superior. (shrink)
Libertarians believe certain things about rights and responsibilities, about when one person is to be held responsible for invading the rights of another. Libertarians also believe certain things about consent, about when someone should be held to a contract he has entered into. What they don't realize is that the first set of beliefs doesn't mix well with the second set of beliefs—that their intuitions about rights and responsibilities quite simply don't square with their intuitions about consent. Or so I (...) shall be trying to show in this essay. (shrink)
Over the past few decades, Indigenous communities have successfully campaigned for greater inclusion in decision-making processes that directly affect their lands and livelihoods. As a result, two important participatory rights for Indigenous peoples have now been widely recognized: the right to consultation and the right to free, prior and informed consent (FPIC). Although these participatory rights are meant to empower the speech of these communities—to give them a proper say in the decisions that most affect them—we argue that the way (...) these rights have been implemented and interpreted sometimes has the opposite effect, of denying them a say or ‘silencing’ them. In support of this conclusion we draw on feminist speech act theory to identify practices of locutionary, illocutionary, and perlocutionary group silencing that arise in the context of consultation with Indigenous communities. (shrink)
The “default system” of the brain has been described as a set of regions which are ‘activated’ during rest and ‘deactivated’ during cognitively effortful tasks. To investigate the reliability of task-related deactivations, we performed a meta-analysis across 12 fMRI studies. Our results replicate previous findings by implicating medial frontal and parietal brain regions as part of the “default system”.However, the cognitive correlates of these deactivations remain unclear. In light of the importance of social cognitive abilities for human beings and their (...) propensity to engage in such activities, we relate our results to findings from neuroimaging studies of social cognition. This demonstrates a remarkable overlap between the brain regions typically involved in social cognitive processes and the “default system”.We, henceforth, suggest that the physiological ‘baseline’ of the brain is intimately linked to a psychological ‘baseline’: human beings have a predisposition for social cognition as the default mode of cognizing which is implemented in the robust pattern of intrinsic brain activity known as the “default system”. (shrink)
Warm regards are exchanged between old friends who are seriously bent on changing the world, not merely analyzing it. Mutual appreciation is evident, as is some tension. Herbert Marcuse’s militant critique of US war-making, waste-making, and poverty is taking Europe by storm. Leo Löwenthal tips his hat with subtle irony and humor to Marcuse’s 1967 triumphs as a public intellectual and political theorist. Activist students give Marcuse great credit because other Frankfurt theorists like Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno have remained (...) aloof from this protest. Löwenthal remains more skeptical than Marcuse about the goals of the student movement, which seem to him too ideological and insufficiently radical. (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)
With a view to the theme of church renewal, this article explores the role of a well-known and popular phrase in the Reformed tradition within Protestantism, that is, ecclesia reformata semper reformanda [‘the reformed church should always be reformed’]. Is this a helpful slogan when considering the possibilities and the limitations of church renewal? Firstly, the historical background of this phrase is described: it is rooted in the Dutch Reformed tradition, and only in the 20th century it was widely recognised (...) in Reformed circles. Against this background the hermeneutical problem, linked with the principle of sola Scriptura, is presented, and put into an ecumenical ecclesiological perspective: the church is grounded in the gospel. Finally, the article focuses on church polity as an important field of renewal, taking into account Karl Barth’s interpretation of this phrase. From this perspective, a balanced and ecumenical approach of church renewal is possible. (shrink)
Philosophers often claim that forgiveness is a paradoxical phenomenon. I here examine two of the most widespread ways of dealing with the paradoxical nature of forgiveness. One of these ways, emblematized by Aurel Kolnai, seeks to resolve the paradox by appealing to the idea of repentance. Somehow, if a wrongdoer repents, then forgiving her is no longer paradoxical. I argue that this influential position faces more problems than it solves. The other way to approach the paradox, exemplified here by the (...) work of Jacques Derrida, is just too obscure to be by itself helpful. Yet, I argue that what I take to be its spirit is on the right track. I recommend distinguishing between the definition and the justification of forgiveness, and also between forgiveness understood as a mental phenomenon and an overt, communicative act. These distinctions are not given their due in the specialized literature, and I expose the nefarious consequences of this neglect. By focusing on forgiveness as a mental phenomenon I seek to analyze the root of the talk of paradoxes which surrounds the discussion of forgiveness. Finally, I present an analysis of forgiveness as a pure mental phenomenon, and argue that this analysis is the most important step in understanding forgiveness in any other sense. While my analysis reveals interesting aspects of forgiveness, it reveals, too, that forgiveness is not quite as paradoxical after all. (shrink)
According Philip Pettit, suitably organised groups not only possess ‘minds of their own’ but can also ‘make up their minds’ and 'speak for themselves'--where these two capacities enable them to perform as conversable subjects or 'persons'. In this paper I critically examine Pettit's case for group personhood. My first step is to reconstruct his account, explaining first how he understands the two capacities he considers central to personhood – the capacity to ‘make up one’s mind’, and the capacity to ‘speak (...) for oneself’ – before showing how he thinks these can be manifested in groups. With Pettit’s account duly reconstructed, I then turn to criticism, arguing that Pettit’s construal of making up one’s mind does not do proper justice to our first-personal self-understanding, nor to our characteristic interpersonal forms of engagement. This leads me, finally, to consider an alternative construal of ‘making up one’s mind’ and ‘speaking for oneself’ that is associated with the work of Richard Moran and whichargue, could usefully be exteextended to groups. (shrink)
This volume of essays ranges over critical themes that define Strauss's thought: the tension between reason and revelation in the Western tradition, the philsophical roots of liberal democracy, and especially the conflicting yet ...
The age-old debate about what constitutes just punishment has become deadlocked. Retributivists continue to privilege desert over all else, and consequentialists continue to privilege punishment's expected positive consequences, such as deterrence or rehabilitation, over all else. In this important intervention into the debate, Leo Zaibert argues that despite some obvious differences, these traditional positions are structurally very similar, and that the deadlock between them stems from the fact they both oversimplify the problem of punishment. Proponents of these positions pay insufficient (...) attention to the conflicts of values that punishment, even when justified, generates. Mobilizing recent developments in moral philosophy, Zaibert offers a properly pluralistic justification of punishment that is necessarily more complex than its traditional counterparts. An understanding of this complexity should promote a more cautious approach to inflicting punishment on individual wrongdoers and to developing punitive policies and institutions. (shrink)
This volume provides an unequaled introduction to the thought of chief contributors to the Western tradition of political philosophy from classical Greek antiquity to the twentieth century. Written by specialists on the various philosophers, this third edition has been expanded significantly to include both new and revised essays.
Plato and Aristotle on the vocation of the philosopher -- Halevi's Kuzari as a platonic dialogue -- Maimonides and the imagination -- Elia del Medigo, Averroes and Averroism -- Paduan Averroism reconsidered -- Philosophy and mysticism -- Maimonides and Spinoza on good and evil -- A note on natural right, nature and reason in Spinoza -- Spinoza and Luzzatto : philosophy and religion -- On the interpretation of Maimonides: the cases of Samuel David Luzzatto and Ahad Haxam -- Harry a. (...) Wolfson as interpreter of medieval thought -- On the limitations of human knowledge. (shrink)
For much of the first fifty years of its existence, analytic philosophy shunned discussions of normativity and ethics. Ethical statements were considered as pseudo-propositions, or as expressions of pro- or con-attitudes of minor theoretical significance. Nowadays, in contrast, prominent analytic philosophers pay close attention to normative problems. Here we focus our attention on the work of Searle, at the same time drawing out an important connection between Searle’s work and that of two other seminal figures in this development: H.L.A. Hart (...) and John Rawls. We show that all three thinkers tend to assume that there is but one type of normativity within the realm of social institutions – roughly, the sort of normativity that is involved in following the results of chess – and that they thereby neglect features that are of crucial significance for an adequate understanding of social reality. (shrink)
Derek Parfit has recently defended the view that no one can ever deserve to suffer. Were this view correct, its implications for the thorny problem of the justification of punishment would be extraordinary: age-old debates between consequentialists and retributivists would simply vanish, as punishment would only—and simply—be justifiable along Benthamite utilitarian lines. I here suggest that Parfit’s view is linked to uncharacteristically weak arguments, and that it ought to be rejected.
In this article, I examine the compatibility thesis, according to which the assumptions and results of cognitive (and other bio-psychological) theories of religion are compatible with the theistic world-view. In particular, I analyse the conception of world-view neutrality concerning scientific theories of religion. I also investigate the nature of pro-theistic argumentation; one aspect of this is the role that various forms of naturalism have in theistic compatibility claims. I point out that the version of theism guiding the argumentation of the (...) proponents of the compatibility thesis is seldom explicated. A commitment to classical theism is problematic because of the ultimate metaphysical separation of God and the world. Instead, I support the compatibility view with a notion of God construed as the structuring cause of the world. (shrink)