The Truth about Leo Strauss

Political Philosophy and American Democracy

Author: Catherine H. Zuckert,Michael P. Zuckert

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 0226993337

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 306

View: 2592

Is Leo Strauss truly an intellectual forebear of neoconservatism and a powerful force in shaping Bush administration foreign policy? The Truth about Leo Strauss puts this question to rest, revealing for the first time how the popular media came to perpetuate such an oversimplified view of such a complex and wide-ranging philosopher. More important, it corrects our perception of Strauss, providing the best general introduction available to the political thought of this misunderstood figure. Catherine and Michael Zuckert—both former students of Strauss—guide readers here to a nuanced understanding of how Strauss’s political thought fits into his broader philosophy. Challenging the ideas that Strauss was an inflexible conservative who followed in the footsteps of Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Carl Schmitt, the Zuckerts contend that Strauss’s signature idea was the need for a return to the ancients. This idea, they show, stemmed from Strauss’s belief that modern thought, with its relativism and nihilism, undermines healthy politics and even the possibility of real philosophy. Identifying this view as one of Strauss’s three core propositions—America is modern, modernity is bad, and America is good—they conclude that Strauss was a sober defender of liberal democracy, aware of both its strengths and its weaknesses. The Zuckerts finish, appropriately, by examining the varied work of Strauss’s numerous students and followers, revealing the origins—rooted in the tensions within his own thought—oftheir split into opposing camps. Balanced and accessible, The Truth about Leo Strauss is a must-read for anyone who wants to more fully comprehend this enigmatic philosopher and his much-disputed legacy.

The Truth about Leo Strauss

Political Philosophy and American Democracy (Large Print 16pt)

Author: Michael Zuckert,Catherine

Publisher: ReadHowYouWant

ISBN: 9781459658431

Category: Political Science

Page: 676

View: 655

Is Leo Strauss truly an intellectual forebear of neoconservatism and a powerful force in shaping Bush administration foreign policy? "The Truth about Leo Strauss" puts this question to rest, revealing for the first time how the popular media came to perpetuate such an oversimplified view of such a complex and wide - ranging philosopher. More important, it corrects our perception of Strauss, providing the best general introduction available to the political thought of this misunderstood figure. Catherine and Michael Zuckert - both former students of Strauss - guide readers here to a nuanced understanding of how Strauss's political thought fits into his broader philosophy. Challenging the ideas that Strauss was an inflexible conservative who followed in the footsteps of Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Carl Schmitt, the Zuckerts contend that Strauss's signature idea was the need for a return to the ancients. This idea, they show, stemmed from Strauss's belief that modern thought, with its relativism and nihilism, undermines healthy politics and even the possibility of real philosophy. Identifying this view as one of Strauss's three core propositions - America is modern, modernity is bad, and America is good - they conclude that Strauss was a sober defender of liberal democracy, aware of both its strengths and its weaknesses. The Zuckerts finish, appropriately, by examining the varied work of Strauss's numerous students and followers, revealing the origins - rooted in the tensions within his own thought - oftheir split into opposing camps. Balanced and accessible, "The Truth about Leo Strauss" is a must - read for anyone who wants to more fully comprehend this enigmatic philosopher and his much - disputed legacy.

Leo Strauss and the Problem of Political Philosophy

Author: Michael P. Zuckert,Catherine H. Zuckert

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 022613587X

Category: Philosophy

Page: 416

View: 3314

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.

Leo Strauss and Anglo-American Democracy

A Conservative Critique

Author: Grant N. Havers

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: 9780875804781

Category: Philosophy

Page: 245

View: 2357

"Interprets Leo Strauss's political philosphy from a conservative standpoint and argues that Strauss was a Cold War liberal. Suggests inattention to Christianity is crucial to the Straussian portrayal of Anglo-American democracy as a universal regime whose eternal ideals of liberty and constitutional governmnent accord with the teachings of Plato and Aristotle, rather than the Gospels"--

Leo Strauss

Political Philosopher and Jewish Thinker

Author: Kenneth L. Deutsch,Walter Nicgorski

Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield

ISBN: 9780847678389

Category: Philosophy

Page: 396

View: 7866

In this book, 19 prominent representatives of each side in the basic division among Strauss's followers explore his contribution to political philosophy and Jewish thought. The volume presents the most extensive analysis yet published of Strauss's religious heritage and how it related to his work, and includes Strauss's previously unpublished 'Why We Remain Jews, ' an extraordinary essay concerned with the challenge posed to Judaism by modern secular thought. The extensive introduction interrelates the major themes of Strauss's thought

Leo Strauss and the Politics of American Empire

Author: Anne Norton

Publisher: Yale University Press

ISBN: 9780300109733

Category: Political Science

Page: 235

View: 9620

The teachings of political theorist Leo Strauss (1899-1973) have recently received new attention, as political observers have become aware of the influence Strauss’s students have had in shaping conservative agendas of the Bush administration--including the war on Iraq. This provocative book examines Strauss’s ideas and the ways in which they have been appropriated, or misappropriated, by senior policymakers. Anne Norton, a political theorist trained by some of Strauss’s most famous students, is well equipped to write on Strauss and Straussians. She tells three interwoven narratives: the story of Leo Strauss, a Jewish German-born émigré, who carried European philosophy into a new world; the story of the philosophic lineage that came from Leo Strauss; and the story of how America has been made a moral battleground by the likes of Paul Wolfowitz, Leon Kass, Carnes Lord, and Irving Kristol--Straussian conservatives committed to an American imperialism they believe will usher in a new world order.

Leo Strauss and the Politics of Exile

The Making of a Political Philosopher

Author: Eugene Sheppard

Publisher: Brandeis University Press

ISBN: 1611687691

Category: Philosophy

Page: 188

View: 517

Born in rural Hesse, Germany, Leo Strauss (1899-1973) became an active Zionist and philosopher during the tumultuous and fractious Weimar Republic. As Eugene R. Sheppard demonstrates in this groundbreaking and engaging book, Strauss gravitated towards such thinkers as Franz Rosenzweig, Martin Heidegger, and Carl Schmitt as he sought to identify and overcome fundamental philosophical, political, and theological crises. The rise of Nazism impelled Strauss as a young Jewish ŽmigrŽ, first in Europe and then in America, to grapple with--and accommodate his thought to--the pressing challenges of exile. In confronting his own state of exile, Strauss enlisted premodern Jewish thinkers such as Moses Maimonides and Baruch Spinoza who earlier addressed the problem of reconciling their competing loyalties as philosophers and Jews. This is the first study to frame Strauss's political philosophy around his critique of liberalism and the problem of exile. Sheppard follows Strauss from Europe to the United States, a journey of a conservative Weimar Jew struggling with modern liberalism and the existential and political contours of exile. Strauss sought to resolve the conflicts of a Jew unwilling to surrender loyalty to his ancestral community and equally unwilling to adhere to the strictures of orthodox observance. Strauss saw truth and wisdom as transcending particular religious and national communities, as well as the modern enlightened humanism in which he himself had been nurtured. In his efforts to navigate between the Jewish and the philosophical, the ancient and the modern, Berlin and New York, Strauss developed a distinctively programmatic way of reading and writing "between the lines." Sheppard recaptures the complexity and intrigue of this project which has been ignored by those who both reject and claim Strauss's legacy.

Leo Strauss

Man of Peace

Author: Robert Howse

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 1107074991

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 196

View: 8557

This book analyzes Leo Strauss's writings on political violence, considering also what he taught in the classroom on this subject.

Leo Strauss and the Conservative Movement in America

Author: Paul E. Gottfried

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 1139505483

Category: Political Science

Page: N.A

View: 9492

This book offers an original interpretation of the achievement of Leo Strauss, stressing how his ideas and followers reshaped the American conservative movement. The conservative movement that reached out to Strauss and his legacy was extremely fluid and lacked a self-confident leadership. Conservative activists and journalists felt a desperate need for academic acceptability, which they thought Strauss and his disciples would furnish. They also became deeply concerned with the problem of 'value relativism', which self-described conservatives thought Strauss had effectively addressed. But until recently, neither Strauss nor his disciples have considered themselves to be 'conservatives'. Contrary to another misconception, Straussians have never wished to convert Americans to ancient political ideals and practices, except in a very selective rhetorical fashion. Strauss and his disciples have been avid champions of American modernity, and 'timeless' values as interpreted by Strauss and his followers often look starkly contemporary.

After Leo Strauss

New Directions in Platonic Political Philosophy

Author: Tucker Landy

Publisher: SUNY Press

ISBN: 1438451652

Category: Philosophy

Page: 237

View: 2980

Proposes a post-Straussian reading of Plato to advance a reconciliation of ancient and modern theories of natural right. Few thinkers of the twentieth century studied the fundamental questions of ethics and politics, or penetrated further into the philosophical sources of the moral relativism of our times, more deeply than Leo Strauss. After Leo Strauss is not yet another attempt to explicate, critique, or defend Strauss. Instead, it encourages us to look in new directions, and to escape certain aspects of Strauss’s powerful influence, in order to revisit classic texts and make our own judgments about what those texts might mean. Tucker Landy proposes a post-Straussian reading of the Platonic dialogues that is non-esoteric yet respectful of their subtle dramatic-pedagogic form and urges us, in a spirit of Socratic humility, to reexamine ancient and modern theories of natural right to seek possible grounds for reconciliation between them. Landy puts forth a Socratic theory of democratic liberalism as an example of such reconciliation. “This book is a breath of fresh air for people like me, who were influenced by Strauss early in their philosophic careers but who refuse to dismiss metaphysics and cosmology, who are wary of the potentially narrowing effects of ‘political philosophy,’ and who are open, in their philosophical eros, to the possible truth of revelation and the wisdom of the poets. Tucker Landy gives us a new beginning—a Socrates made young and beautiful.” — Peter Kalkavage, author of The Logic of Desire: An Introduction to Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit

Reading Leo Strauss

Politics, Philosophy, Judaism

Author: Steven B. Smith

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 0226763897

Category: Philosophy

Page: 256

View: 1325

Interest in Leo Strauss is greater now than at any time since his death, mostly because of the purported link between his thought and the political movement known as neoconservatism. Steven B. Smith, though, surprisingly depicts Strauss not as the high priest of neoconservatism but as a friend of liberal democracy—perhaps the best defender democracy has ever had. Moreover, in Reading Leo Strauss, Smith shows that Strauss’s defense of liberal democracy was closely connected to his skepticism of both the extreme Left and extreme Right. Smith asserts that this philosophical skepticism defined Strauss’s thought. It was as a skeptic, Smith argues, that Strauss considered the seemingly irreconcilable conflict between reason and revelation—a conflict Strauss dubbed the “theologico-political problem.” Calling this problem “the theme of my investigations,” Strauss asked the same fundamental question throughout his life: what is the relation of the political order to revelation in general and Judaism in particular? Smith organizes his book with this question, first addressing Strauss’s views on religion and then examining his thought on philosophical and political issues. In his investigation of these philosophical and political issues, Smith assesses Strauss’s attempt to direct the teaching of political science away from the examination of mass behavior and interest group politics and toward the study of the philosophical principles on which politics are based. With his provocative, lucid essays, Smith goes a long way toward establishing a distinctive form of Straussian liberalism.

Publius and Political Imagination

Author: Jason Frank

Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield

ISBN: 0742548163

Category: Political Science

Page: 198

View: 2014

Jason Frank’s Publius and Political Imagination is the first volume of the Modernity and Political Thought series to take as its focus not a single author, but collaboration between political philosophers, in this very special case the collective known by the pseudonym: Publius.

Trump and Political Philosophy

Patriotism, Cosmopolitanism, and Civic Virtue

Author: Marc Benjamin Sable,Angel Jaramillo Torres

Publisher: Springer

ISBN: 3319744275

Category: Political Science

Page: 362

View: 5246

This book seeks to address the relation of political philosophy and Donald Trump as a political phenomenon through the notions of patriotism, cosmopolitanism, and civic virtue. Political philosophers have been prescient in explaining trends that may explain our political misgivings. Madison warned during the debates on the Constitution that democracies are vulnerable to factions based on passion for personalities and beliefs; various continental thinkers have addressed the problem of nihilism—the modern loss of faith in objective standards of truth and morality—that in Max Weber’s analysis pointed to the importance of charisma, in Carl Schmitt’s to the idea that politics is essentially rooted in the definition of friends and enemies, and in early Heidegger resulted in the emphasis on the enduring significance of local, rather than cosmopolitan values. The former concerns—regarding demagoguery, charisma and nihilism—will enable an evaluation of Trump as a political character, while the latter concerns—regarding the status of universal versus local values—will enable us to evaluate the content of “Trumpism.” Taken together, these essays seek to advance the public conversation about the relationship between the rise of Trump and the ideological forces that seek to justify that rise.

The Legacy of Leo Strauss

Author: Tony Burns,James Connelly

Publisher: Andrews UK Limited

ISBN: 1845406605

Category: Philosophy

Page: 278

View: 9398

Leo Strauss was a political philosopher who died in 1973 but came to came to prominent attention in the United States and also Britain around the beginning of the War in Iraq. Charges began emerging that architects of the war such as Paul Wolfowitz and large numbers of staff in the US State and Defense Departments had studied with, or been influenced by, the academic work of Strauss and his followers. A vague, but powerful, idea was generated in the popular press that a group known as the Straussians had been instrumental in the long-range strategic planning of American foreign policy, both to advance American interests and to encourage democratic revolutions outside the West. This volume of essays opens up the topic of Leo Strauss and the Straussians to those outside the relatively narrow circles who have been concerned with him and his followers up to now.

The Cambridge Companion to Leo Strauss

Author: Steven B. Smith

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 9781139828253

Category: Religion

Page: 307

View: 8791

Leo Strauss was a central figure in the twentieth century renaissance of political philosophy. The essays of The Cambridge Companion to Leo Strauss provide a comprehensive and non-partisan survey of the major themes and problems that constituted Strauss's work. These include his revival of the great 'quarrel between the ancients and the moderns,' his examination of tension between Jerusalem and Athens, and most controversially his recovery of the tradition of esoteric writing. The volume also examines Strauss's complex relation to a range of contemporary political movements and thinkers, including Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger, Max Weber, Carl Schmitt, and Gershom Scholem, as well as the creation of a distinctive school of 'Straussian' political philosophy.

Leo Strauss, the Straussians, and the American Regime

Author: Kenneth L. Deutsch,John Albert Murley

Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield

ISBN: 9780847686926

Category: Philosophy

Page: 451

View: 634

Responding to volatile criticisms frequently leveled at Leo Strauss and those he influenced, the prominent contributors to this volume demonstrate the profound influence that Strauss and his students have exerted on American liberal democracy and contemporary political thought. By stressing the enduring vitality of classic books and by articulating the theoretical and practical flaws of relativism and historicism, the contributors argue that Strauss and the Straussians have identified fundamental crises of modernity and liberal democracy. This book emphasizes the broad range of Strauss's influence, from literary criticism to constitutional thought, and it denies the existence of a monolithic Straussian political orthodoxy. Both critics and supporters of Strauss' thought are included. All political theorists interested in Strauss's extraordinary impact on political thought will want to read this book.

Hannah Arendt and Leo Strauss

German Émigrés and American Political Thought After World War II

Author: Peter Graf Kielmansegg,Horst Mewes,Elisabeth Glaser-Schmidt

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 9780521599368

Category: History

Page: 208

View: 1421

This book explores the influence of Hannah Arendt's and Leo Strauss' background in pre-World War II Germany on their perception of American democracy. The contributors analyze how their émigré experience both influenced their American work and also impacted on the formation of the discipline of political science in postwar Germany. Arendt's and Strauss' experiences thus aptly illustrate the transfer and transformation of political ideas in the World War II era.

Philosophy Between the Lines

The Lost History of Esoteric Writing

Author: Arthur M. Melzer

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 022617512X

Category: Philosophy

Page: 464

View: 8411

Philosophical esotericism—the practice of communicating one’s unorthodox thoughts “between the lines”—was a common practice until the end of the eighteenth century. The famous Encyclopédie of Diderot, for instance, not only discusses this practice in over twenty different articles, but admits to employing it itself. The history of Western thought contains hundreds of such statements by major philosophers testifying to the use of esoteric writing in their own work or others’. Despite this long and well-documented history, however, esotericism is often dismissed today as a rare occurrence. But by ignoring esotericism, we risk cutting ourselves off from a full understanding of Western philosophical thought. Arthur M. Melzer serves as our deeply knowledgeable guide in this capacious and engaging history of philosophical esotericism. Walking readers through both an ancient (Plato) and a modern (Machiavelli) esoteric work, he explains what esotericism is—and is not. It relies not on secret codes, but simply on a more intensive use of familiar rhetorical techniques like metaphor, irony, and insinuation. Melzer explores the various motives that led thinkers in different times and places to engage in this strange practice, while also exploring the motives that lead more recent thinkers not only to dislike and avoid this practice but to deny its very existence. In the book’s final section, “A Beginner’s Guide to Esoteric Reading,” Melzer turns to how we might once again cultivate the long-forgotten art of reading esoteric works. Philosophy Between the Lines is the first comprehensive, book-length study of the history and theoretical basis of philosophical esotericism, and it provides a crucial guide to how many major writings—philosophical, but also theological, political, and literary—were composed prior to the nineteenth century.

On Tyranny

Author: Leo Strauss,Alexandre Kojève,Victor Gourevitch,Michael S. Roth

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 9780226776873

Category: Philosophy

Page: 336

View: 9909

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.

Natural Right and History

Author: Leo Strauss

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 9780226776941

Category: Philosophy

Page: 327

View: 6221

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 (1899-1973) was the Robert Maynard Hutchins Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in Political Science at the University of Chicago.