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)
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 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)
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 ...
"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)
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.
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)
Professor Eric A. Havelock in his book The Liberal Temper in Greek Politics approaches classical political philosophy from the positivistic point of view. The doctrine to which he adheres is however a somewhat obsolete version of positivism. Positivist study of society, as he understands it, is "descriptive" and opposed to "judgmental evaluation" but this does not prevent his siding with those who understand "History as Progress." The social scientist cannot speak of progress unless value judgments can be objective. The up-to-date (...) or consistent positivist will therefore refrain from speaking of progress and instead speak of change. Similarly Havelock appears to accept the distinction between primitive men or savages and civilized men, whereas the consistent positivist will speak not of savages but of pre-literate men and assert that preliterate men have "civilizations" or "cultures" neither superior nor inferior to those of literate men. It would be wrong to believe that the up-to-date positivist is entirely consistent or that his careful avoidance of "evaluative" terms is entirely due to his methodological puritanism; his heart tells him that once one admits the inequality of "cultures," one may not be able to condemn colonialism on moral grounds. Havelock is therefore perhaps only more intelligent or more frank than the consistent positivists when he describes his position as liberal rather than as positivist. Yet this does not entirely dispose of the difficulty. "For the liberals man is to be taken as you find him and therefore his present political institutions are to be taken as given also." This means that here and now the liberals will take American democracy as given and will then "concentrate empirically and descriptively on this kind of political mechanism." This is a fair description of positivistic political science at its best. Yet Havelock praises the same liberals for writing "in defence of democracy". What then is a liberal? Was a German social scientist who in 1939 took "the present political institutions as given" and subjected them to "empirical analysis" for this reason by itself a liberal? If so then a liberal is not a man of strong moral or political convictions, and this does not seem to agree with the common meaning of the word. Yet from Havelock's Preface it appears that the liberal regards all political and moral convictions as "negotiable" because he is extremely tolerant. Havelock applies the implicit maxim of conduct to the relations between the United States and Soviet Russia today. For all one can know from his book, he would have given the same advice during the conflict between the Western democracies and the Fascist regimes at the time of the Munich conference. At any rate he does not seem to have given thought to the question of whether Tolerance can remain tolerant when confronted with unqualified Intolerance or whether one must not fall back in the end on "moral convictions" which are not "negotiable." In almost all these points Havelock is liberal in the sense in which the word is commonly used here and now. (shrink)
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.
IN THE GUIDE OF THE PERPLEXED, Maimonides does not treat the doctrine of divine omniscience and divine providence in a strictly theological context. He arrives at this subject for the first time in the third section of the Guide, after he has concluded the thematic treatment of at least the following themes: the names and attributes of God ; the proof of the existence, unity, and incorporeality of God ; the separate intelligences and the order of the world ; the (...) creation of the world ; and prophecy. Directly following the discussion of prophecy is the thematic interpretation of ma‘aseh merkabah —Ezekiel 1 and 10—. This interpretation concludes with the remark that while all of the preceding “up to this chapter,” that is, I 1–III 7, is indispensable for the understanding of ma‘aseh merkabah, the discussion “after this chapter,” that is, from III 8 to the end, will in no way—neither in a detailed manner nor in the form of hints—involve “this subject,” namely ma‘aseh merkabah. Accordingly, Maimonides immediately turns to “other subjects.” Now, for Maimonides ma‘aseh merkabah is identical with metaphysics. The closing remark at the end of Guide III 7 means, then, that while all preceding discussions are of a metaphysical character, the following discussions will not belong to metaphysics. The subjects of the nonmetaphysical section of the Guide are: divine providence ; and the purpose of the Torah in general and of its arrangements in particular. Whatever else may be the case with regard to the plan of the Guide, it is certain that Maimonides, through precisely this plan, excludes the question of divine omniscience and of divine providence from the subject matter of metaphysics. (shrink)
Walker feels that his contention regarding the novelty of Machiavelli's method is in need of proof. He asserts that "the practice of considering negative instances was far more extensively used by St. Thomas Aquinas than it was by Machiavelli, who is but a tyro in this respect." "But neither St. Thomas nor any other mediaeval thinker... [proves his] theorems by citing similar instances taken from ancient and contemporary history," to say nothing of other differences between their procedure and that of (...) Machiavelli. Walker admits that "there are... similarities in method, some of them quite striking," between Machiavelli and Aristotle. But "there are also marked differences." "Aristotle's Politics contains at least as many, if not more, precepts or maxims than the Discourses of Machiavelli, but rarely does Aristotle cite even a single historical example to show that in practice they would work, whereas Machiavelli invariably cites several..." Furthermore, Machiavelli's method, in contradistinction to Aristotle's, is "essentially historical." It was "to his reading of ancient historians," and apparently not to his study of Aristotle, that "Machiavelli's interest in history and his realization of its significance to the politician was undoubtedly due". It would then seem that the new method emerged by virtue of a synthesis between Aristotle's political philosophy and "history," i.e. coherent records of past events. (shrink)
Les Lois ne sont pas le dialogue de Platon le plus connu, ni a fortiori le plus commenté. Strauss nous en donne ici un commentaire magistral : serré, il épouse toutes les sinuosités du texte et en révèle toute la subtilité. Ce commentaire, publié après la mort de l’auteur, mais entièrement terminé, est le fruit d’une vie entière de méditation de l’œuvre de Platon. A ce titre, il constitue un exemple privilégié de l’« art de lire » les textes de (...) l’antiquité de Leo Strauss. Le dialogue des Lois, en tant qu’il traite les questions de la loi politique et de la loi divine, a très tôt alimenté les réflexions de Strauss sur le problème théologico-politique qui est central dans ses recherches. (shrink)