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The first major piece of unpublished work by Leo Strauss to appear in more than thirty years, "Leo Strauss On Plato's "Symposium"" offers the public the unprecedented experience of encountering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 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 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 once called the theologico-political problem ‘the theme of my investigations’ from the 1920s on. What justified this remark is by no means obvious. This article examines the origins of Strauss’s concern with political theology in his earliest writings on Zionism and Jewish thought during the Weimar period. Here we see Strauss, at the outset of his career as a young Zionist committed to a programme of political atheism, slowly begin to develop the idea that the conflict between unbelief (...) and belief (Unglauben und Glauben) was the ‘deepest theme of world history’. This awareness, I argue, slowly led Strauss to reassess the adequacy of political Zionism as an answer to the Jewish question and to justify his later claim about the centrality of the theologico-political problem. (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)
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.
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)
The entrapment defense is a puzzle of long standing. One the one hand, we are offended by the government’s subjecting someone vulnerable to extreme temptation. It seems like something anyone might fall prey to. On the other hand, it is hard to explain why someone who actually commits, or attempts a crime, and who would be liable if anyone other than the government had tempted him, should escape punishment. His blameworthiness seems the same. This essay seeks to illuminate this puzzle (...) by showing how it parallels the long-standing debate surrounding the criminal law problem of the actio libera in causa—situations in which someone seeks to escape liability by contriving to put a certain defense in place, such as provoking his victim into attacking him, so that he can then kill him in self-defense. The parallels between the two problems do not serve to resolve either, but make them appear in a rather different light. (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)
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)
Offering an innovative approach to critical thinking, Good Reasoning Matters! identifies the essential structure of good arguments in a variety of contexts and also provides guidelines to help students construct their own effective arguments. In addition to examining the most common features of faulty reasoning--slanting, bias, propaganda, vagueness, ambiguity, and a common failure to consider opposing points of view--the book introduces a variety of argument schemes and rhetorical techniques. This edition adds material on visual arguments and more exercises.
During the last decade, one source of debate in argumentation theory has been the notion that there are different modes of arguing that need to be distinguished when analyzing and evaluating arguments. Visual argument is often cited as a paradigm example. This paper discusses the ways in which it and modes of arguing that invoke non-verbal sounds, smells, tactile sensations, music and other non-verbal entities may be defined and conceptualized. Though some attempts to construct a ‘multimodal’ theory of argument are (...) criticized, it advocates for an argumentation theory that makes room for visual arguing and for other non-verbal modes that have not been explored in depth. In the process, the paper provides a method for identifying the structure of multimodal arguments and argues that adding modes to our theoretical tool box is an important step toward a comprehensive account of argument. (shrink)
ResumenLeo Strauss, en un ambiente filosófico adverso, tuvo la osadía de interrogarse acerca de la mejor forma de vida. Sin embargo, no parece haber alcanzado acabadamente su meta. El carácter zetético de su gnoseología, el abandono de conceptos metafísicos indispensables para alcanzar la unidad de ser, su énfasis en la «negatividad» del método socrático que limita la «positividad» propia de la mayéutica: el amor a la verdad, etc. le han conducido a la aporía consistente en la imposibilidad de alcanzar una (...) síntesis entre razón y revelación, consideradas como «totalidades» incompatibles entre sí. Por ello, no llega a dar respuesta a su interrogante más profundo.Palabras claveLeo Strauss, razón-revelación, escepticismo moderado, mayéutica.In philosophical adverse times, Leo Strauss dared question about the best way of life. However, he does not seem to have achieved his objective completely. His zetetic epistemology; the abandonment of key metaphysical concepts necessary to comprehend the unity of being; his stress on the negativity stage of the Socratic method, limiting the conclusive positive stage of the maieutic have led him to an aporia. This is the impossibility of reaching a synthesis between reason and revelation, considered as «wholes» incompatible with each other. Hence he doesn’t find a convincing answer to his deepest inquiry about the best way of life.KeywordsLeo Strauss, reason-revelation, moderate scepticism, mai. (shrink)
According to an influential tradition in speech act theory, it takes more than linguistic mastery and normative entitlement to do things with words; one's words must also be given a suitable reception or social uptake. Working within this tradition, I identify and characterize the phenomenon of discursive paternalism. Discursive paternalism occurs when a party to a speaker's act takes control of the uptake the act receives, with the aim of curating the speaker's commitments. This is done without the prior consent (...) or knowledge of the speaker, and for the perceived good of the speaker. I describe three distinct forms of discursive paternalism, which differ in terms of the role played by the paternalist, and the kind of authority he lays claim to in performing that role. (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)
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)
With wit and intelligence, Leo Katz seeks to understand the basic rules and concepts underlying the moral, linguistic, and psychological puzzles that plague the criminal law. "_Bad Acts and Guilty Minds_... revives the mind, it challenges superficial analyses, it reminds us that underlying the vast body of statutory and case law, there is a rationale founded in basic notions of fairness and reason.... It will help lawyers to better serve their clients and the society that permits attorneys to hang out (...) their shingles."—Edward N. Costikyan, _New York Times Book Review_. (shrink)
The present paper elaborates a deductivist account of natural language argu-ment in the context of pragma-dialectics. It reviews earlier debates, criticizes some standard misconceptions in the literature, and argues that the identification and analysis of deductive argument schemes can be the basis of a compelling theory of argumentative discourse.
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)
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