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)
In this, his most influential work, legal theorist and political philosopher Carl Schmitt argues that liberalism’s basis in individual rights cannot provide a reasonable justification for sacrificing oneself for the state—a critique as cogent today as when it first appeared. George Schwab’s introduction to his translation of the 1932 German edition highlights Schmitt’s intellectual journey through the turbulent period of German history leading to the Hitlerian one-party state. In addition to analysis by Leo Strauss and a foreword by Tracy B. (...) Strong placing Schmitt’s work into contemporary context, this expanded edition also includes a translation of Schmitt’s 1929 lecture “The Age of Neutralizations and Depoliticizations,” which the author himself added to the 1932 edition of the book. An essential update on a modern classic, The Concept of the Political, Expanded Edition belongs on the bookshelf of anyone interested in political theory or philosophy. (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 ...
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. This edition includes a translation of the dialogue, a critique of the commentary by the French philosopher Alexandre Kojève, Strauss's restatement of his position in light of Kojève's comments, and finally, the complete Strauss-Kojève correspondence. "Through [Strauss's] interpretation Xenophon appears to us as no longer the somewhat dull and flat author (...) we know, but as a brilliant and subtle writer, an original and profound thinker. What is more, in interpreting this forgotten dialogue, Strauss lays bare great moral and political problems that are still ours." —Alexandre Kojève, Critique "On Tyranny is a complex and stimulating book with its 'parallel dialogue' made all the more striking since both participants take such unusual, highly provocative positions, and so force readers to face substantial problems in what are often wholly unfamiliar, even shocking ways." —Robert Pippin, History and Theory "Every political scientist who tries to disentangle himself from the contemporary confusion over the problems of tyranny will be much indebted to this study and inevitably use it as a starting point."—Eric Voegelin, The Review of Politics Leo Strauss (1899-1973) was the Robert Maynard Hutchins Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago. (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)
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)
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)
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)
Les Lois ne sont pas le dialogue de Platon le plus connu, ni a fortiori le plus commente. Strauss nous en donne ici un commentaire magistral: serre, il epouse toutes les sinuosites du texte et en revele toute la subtilite. Ce commentaire, publie apres la mort de l'auteur, mais entierement termine, est le fruit d'une vie entiere de meditation de l'oeuvre de Platon. A ce titre, il constitue un exemple privilegie de l' art de lire les textes de l'antiquite de (...) Leo Strauss. Le dialogue des Lois, en tant qu'il traite les questions de la loi politique et de la loi divine, a tres tot alimente les reflexions de Strauss sur le probleme theologico-politique qui est central dans ses recherches. (shrink)