FREE READ Ä The Rebirth of Classical Political Rationalism An Introduction to the Thought of Leo Strauss


The Rebirth of Classical Political Rationalism An Introduction to the Thought of Leo StraussReviously unpublished lectures and five hard to find published writings and has arranged them so as to demonstrate the systematic progression of the major themes that underlay Strauss's mature work These. I had to read this book for a class on Postmodern Political Thought Our goals in that class were narrow and generally the lesson plan revolved on Heidegger's work whom the professor regarded as the creator and only worthy purveyor of modern existentialismand Strauss' response to it While Heidegger is a mind without eual in modern philosophy Strauss holds his own in this introductory work I found the last essay Progress or Return to be particularly enlightening One always hears how society must progress to a just state but nobody is willing to acknowledge the existence of a metaphysical phenomenon like justice So then what exactly are we progressing to This is a grossly understated paraphrase of his argument but its difficult to summarize the work in a few secondsIf you refuse like some to read Strauss because of the oft cited relationship to Neo Conservatism you're really missing out Like the other reviewer I don't feel that is a treatise on conservative political thought and It would be unfortunate to ignore and engaging and insightful work simply because of your partisan political identity And if that is such a big deal to you here's some food for thought; Heidegger the founder of modern existential thought which seems to have influenced modern political thought than any other was a Nazi

Leo Strauss ó 1 FREE READ

This concise and of Classical PDFEPUB #196 accessible introduction to Strauss's thought provides for wider audience a bridge to his complex theoretical work Editor Pangle has gathered five of Strauss's p. A great introduction into a titanic thinker Best known for his Neocon disciples and his theory of hidden esoteric meanings in ancient texts Strauss studied under Heidegger and in the climate of a crisis of rationalism and the decline of European civilisation absorbed the master's belief that the answers lay in a return to the Classics and a pre Modern way of life Unlike Heidegger though who found succor in a type of Existentialism and later in a mystical turn away from society Strauss engaged with political philosophy seeing in the pressing uestions of our time an iteration of the ancient uestion of what consists the good life Strauss sees the two constituent traditions of Western culture Athens and Jerusalem rationalism and Biblical morality as engaged in an ongoing dialectic tension in which each can learn from and enrich the other In the modern day crisis of rationalism then he sees the result of too great reliance on the power of Science the detached disinterested observation of nature Applying this methodology in the social sciences without the backgrounded rubric of values Biblical morality had been discredited and finally torn down by Nietzsche while the philsophical branch of Ethics was seen as irrelevant to science had led us to moral relativism and Strauss relentlessly assaults his fellow social scientists for their attempts to circumvent this inevitable conclusion Fiery erudite and gripping Strauss strings together his argument in this collection of ten assorted essays from close readings of Thucydides and Xenophon from Lukács and Isaiah Berlin and from allcorners of the social sciences Whether or not one accepts all of his ideas he is reuired reading for anyone interested in Classical or medieval philosophy or in modern day uestions of liberalism pluralism and democratic values Below I've copy pasted the rough notes I took while reading Proceed with cautionIntroSocrates believed that the goal of philosophy was to discover the good Thus the best political philosophy would be aristocracy the rule of 'arete' virtueThe big change in the Enlightenment was that thinkers like Locke and Spinoza decided that democracy would be better abdicating the decision of the just to the individual and letting each one try to find happiness They thought this would lead to the end of history but in fact it led to the joyless pursuit of joy a society devoid of values I1The cautious relativism of modern social science rejects any chauvinist claims of the Western tradition as provincialism However the preliterate tribes who practice their own traditions it lauds as authentic in that they do not aspire to universalism This approach fails when we consider a tribesman confronted with and rejecting western culture This rejection does not come from a sympathetic histrionic understanding because on what basis could one decide definitively if rationalism is not a fair criterion but from an eual provincialismThus social scientists only apply a uasi moral relativism and the resolution of this between the embrace of Western values or complete rejection of absolutism is the most pressing philosophical issue in the social sciences2Strauss weighs various approaches to moral relativism Isaiah Berlin speaks of two types of liberty negative freedom from and positive freedom to He stresses the first because the second can often preclude the first the freedom to achieve something great can sometimes only be achieved in an authoritarian society and jettisoning personal freedom is too much of a risk Thus Berlin is a sort of uasi relativist rejecting any absolute values except for freedom from absolute values which he considers as self evident the line between the civilised man and the barbarian So even this attempt to flee absolutism must fall back on some absolutist ground and cannot escape the scepticStrauss compares Positivism founded in the social sciences by Weber with Marxism as presented by Lukacs Marxism claims that although all truths are relative in our current society we can reach an objective understanding as part of the ongoing dialectic we know we are reaching closer to the truth This is cold comfort if not outright obfuscation was the Reign of Terror better for the upward historical trajectory of the French Revolution And even Marxists beg the relativist uestion one must accept their historicist narrative on faith becaue their principles are no absolute than any othersNext he turns to the Existentialism which presents the best repsonse to relativism best presented by Heidegger but tracing its genealogy to Kierkegaard and most importantly Nietzsche Nietzsche responded to Hegel who was the first to understand historicism that our values are contingent on our cultural s In response to this idea Hegel was forced to claim that although all other societies were on a path of change and development his own was at the pinnacle Nietzsche rejected this and thus came up with the relativity of values All of our values are nothing but inertia superstitionbut perhaps his 'will to power' was a replacement of nature for history and just another relapse into absolutism The attempt to rescue unflinching relativism from Nietszche's metaphysical turn is existentialism3Strauss picks up the value uestion if the scientific method is the only rational way to proceed in the social sciences and if science can never answer value ought uestions then how do we avoid moral relativism Heidegger found the answer in existentialism reducing the human experience to the fleeting lived experience Plato and Aristotle found the highest value in that which is always Heidegger found it specifically in that which is mortal turning objective into the false and misleading and the subjective into the true unlike Kant's transcendental subjectivity Heidegger's system doesn't claim that there is hidden truth in the objective Heidegger never claimed to have found an existential ethics though and ultimately gave up on existentialism His criticism of it was the same as Hegel's of Kant he historicised it Existential anguish was only applicable to a certain time and place Europe in decline Nietzsche's response to Hegel was to advocate a strengthened European spirit Übermensch to lead a world society After the two world wars Heidegger felt terrible despair technology was becoming the new world religion Technology is scientism rationalism Greek thought What was necessary to resist the force of technology and recover Being Sein was to go back to the roots of Western civilisation and mix it with the Eastern ideal of Being a kind of not knowing Hence in a sort of uasi mysticism Heidegger finds the antidote to our modern malaiseII4Classical political philosophy must be distinguished both from general philosophy which asks fundamental uestions and from political science which purportedly makes no judgements but only describes in the scientific spirit Hegel insisted that political philosophy must describe not legislate The ideal political philosopher plays the role of the citizen par excellence an umpire or arbitrator unconcerned with personal glory The most fundamental or constitutional uestion is not the merit of a political order at all that is presupposed but of who should rule with the virtuous being the most obvious answerThe uestion then becomes the entirely theoretical one of what is virtue but this in fact is how Plato construed political philosophy not as philosophy of politics but as a political as in public form of philosophy an introduction for the layman to the necessity of philosophical inuiry5Thence the famous Straussian distinction between exoteric and esoteric meaning it becomes clear that ancient philosophers believed in political instruction as a medium for teaching the idea of the good through simplified 'exoteric' forms Living the good life is ultimately outside the cave of politics but the polis must be lead to virtue through accessible routes Exoteric rhetoric is the outward conveyance of esoteric philosophical truth dumbing down truth for the people6A political historian needs a republican interest in the political combined with wisdom Thucydides sees two states of a civilisation rest and turmoil Turmoil creates the greatest achievements but is also unstable leads to imperialism which was the immediate cause of the Peloponnessian war Contrary to Plato's view of the philosopher's role being outside of politics Thucydides sees his role as to lead he prefers the dynamic creativity of conflict to the placid rest Thus Plato's history book III of the Laws is essentially fatalistic while Thucydides sees a small margin of human agency He takes the uestion of how to live for granted and sees the role of the leader of applying the good to the city And that is why his history doesn't talk about culture because the greatest wisdom can only be described in deeds He is famously misuoted as saying the nation that draws a line between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting done by fools Both Plato and Thucydides seek the good but Plato looks in the long term for the ultimate good; while Thucydides takes a short term view His view is like the pre Socratics like Heraclitus he believes that the whole is not synonymous with the sum of its parts Since Socrates rebuffed the pre Socratics Xenophon took over from Thucydides in a much Socratic direction And for centuries history was seen as synonymous with political history and the goal of social science to describe the best society a special case of philosophy Now however HistorySoc Sci has become the description of culture a good thing; but it has also become neutral instead of the Platonic ideal of the philosophical pursuit of the good But Plato is not wrong History says Strauss is still ultimately political history7i One of the earliest presentations of Socrates is in the comedies of Aristophanes an essentially satirical portrayal but one not without envy and respect Strauss uotes Hegel to the effect that Aristophanes cannot be understood without appreciation of his essential comedy Aristophanes seeks both to edify and to teach; his plays have a social lesson the value of the pastoral life but even this lesson is humourous in its frankness To achieve justice it is necessary to revolt against the harsh and punitive gods Hegel the greatest modern scholar of Aristoph sees in his plays the triumph of a radical subjectivity which lampoons the expectations of society Aristophanes sees the family unit as preceding the political unit nomos but even it is the caprices of the individual himself the ultimate subjectivity as supreme over nomos But what Hegel gets wrong is that this subjectivity is in fact the study of nature synonymous for the ancients with philosophyiiStrauss analyses the Clouds in depth The closing debate in which the unjust speech triumphs over the just speech signifies for Hegel a kind of victory for subjectivity over rationalism or social norms But as we have said and as this as well as Aristoph's other plays bear out it is the study of nature which is ultimately being lauded Yet Aristoph is also cognisant of a tension between nature and nomos and the need for both It is this tension which Socrates addressesSocrates is amusic ie unerotic and unpoetic His philosophy transcends the human and is thus unpolitical Unlike poetry it is incapable of affecting the polis The realisation that philosophy must also address the human race is the origin of political science The later Socrates as presented by Plato and Xenophon was the first philosopher to realise this We shall start with XenophonXenophon was a military leader who understood the need for discipline in order to lead men Not for nothing were his other writings about training dogs and horses His Socrates understands noetic heterogeneity the essential difference between the political and the true good And implicitly the primacy of the political which must protect the inner sanctum of true philosophyiiiAristophanes saw the poetic experience as primary one that Socrates' rationalism cannot appeal to Xenophon distinguishes political wisdom from the philosophical it is different and if not superior certainly primary This is the principle of noetic heterogeneity there are essential irreducible differences between the law of the polis and the truth The political is sui generis This allows the philosopher to engage in politics Since the wise can never convince the unwise by arguing nor rule by force they must enact laws The political is thus wisdom diluted by consent Xenophon's modern reputation is as a supporter of oligarchy over democracy We now move on to Plato and the central tension between philosophy and poetryinterim summary Aristoph poetry philosophy politics; Xenophon philosophy politicsiv In the republic Plato's Socrat claims that the wise must rule a city founded and logic not myth since if the basis is myth the problematic behaviour of the gods arises enforced by a noble lie Ultimately though the republic seems a bit of a bust; it is unworkable hopelessly theoretic some think it is all an exercise in irony Was Aristophanes right that Socrates is a naïf Not at all A clue to the distinction is in the republic being the only one of Plato's dialogues which is compulsory not voluntary Socrates abstracts human desire into spiritedness similar to the biblical heart and eros in Thomistic terms the irascible and the concupiscible Spiritedness is unerotic it exists to protect thwarted desire It represents anger and murder It is thus innately subservient yet it is the guiding emotion of the republic It is ruled over by philosophy To Plato philosophy is identical with Eros his greatest point of agreement with AristophanesSomething about the theory of the forms and the heterogeneity of matter being represented in the city and the identity of the part with the whole I didn't uite follow itv Having grasped the significance of the Idea by which reality can be understood Plato stands for political philosophy against the Sophists in whose materialist conception of the world there is no room for rigid values But the enemy in his sights is now poetry and he resolves this conflict by making poetry the vehicle of the noble deception which makes it subservient to philosophy This is how the citizens are convinced to follow their assigned roles; though in the process the highest because autonomous independent poetry is sacrificedWhat is the relationship between autonomous poetry and truth Third hand since poetry mimics reality which is itself a mere shadow on the wall of the cave reflecting but not identical with the truth Nietzsche has said that artists at all times were the valets of a morality or religion but poetry in reflecting the contradictions and ambiguities of the human soul is psychologia kai psychagogia the very platonic science of the human Against the materialism of the Sophists it sees the Idea as pre eminent Ultimately though its goal is different Plato sees finding the truth as the goal of life Poetry doesn't consider that an option It thus presents the epitome of the nonphilosophical life either as a fruitless search for happiness tragedy or as taking refuge in the absurd comedy Ultimately it remains ministerial to philosophyII8Socrat shows Euthyphron to be a dangerous heretic since he doesn't believe like Socrat in piety independent of the gods yet he does not believe like the common people that piety consists merely of tending to the gods since he accused his father of impiety and disobeying ancestral custom goes against the gods and implies a morality independent of wisdom received from the elders Piety is for the many wisdom for the philosopher; attempts to fuse the two instead of judging between them ill follow Socrates' example9When approaching medieval philosophers we can only understand them properly if we approach them sympathetically admitting at least the possibility that they are right not just for their time but objectively This has added salience in a time when philosophy is in crisis torn between being a handmaiden of science or else an autobiographical field completely cut off from rationality Medieval JewishIslamic philosophy has a far tenuous relationship with faith than in Christiandom owing to Christianity's theological vs IslamJudaism's legalistic natures In Islam and Judaism philosophy is a secretive hermetic art; and religion is the social structure religion is in effect political philosophy10Many Jews are now returning to Judaism which sees the past as superior to the present and has no exact word for progress Yet this return isn't just a continuation of the past it's a post critical ualitatively different Judaism The idea of a continual upward progress bcontinuing forever c coupled with social progress is a hybrid that exists neither in the Greek nor the Judeo Christian traditionThe 17th century uarrel between the Ancients and the Moderns was not just about French drama vs classical but a referendum on the idea of progress Post Enlightenment dazzled by the successes of science people rejected the Bible's truth while continuing to subscribe to its moral norms until Nietzsche Auschwitz sufficed to show the danger of replacing good and bad with progressive and reactionary and virtues with rights or freedomsGreek and Biblical ideology have in common a commitment to justice in obedience to the law but where the Bible values humility the Greeks praise magnanimity there are few gentlemen in the Bible Also the Bible foresees a Messianic end to history and projects an omnipotent God who reuires humility from mortals This is why Maimonides summarises the difference between the two traditions in Aristotle's seeing the world as eternal and the implied lack of divine oversightReligion assumes a concept of the way the derekh or dharma of cultures animals or nature The ancestral holds inherent stabilising value However almost every culture lays a claim to universality in some sense How do we judge between them The Bible alludes to this Elijah on Mount Carmel provides proof albeit miraculous and not dialectic Rationalist critics of religion eg Hume have attacked miracles or the unified integrity of the text but assuming rational grounds eg God should write with a consistent voice is a false starting point Take Spinoza given his opening grounds substance is that which is in itself and is conceived through itself everything follows; but those first principles are arbitrary Philosophy's critiues of religion ultimately only work within its own framework; so do religion's critiues of philosophyUltimately Strauss claims rationality begs the uestion in its critiue of religion on rational grounds which cannot ever judge the revelatory and religion is unable to refute philosophy the true Eros driven search for the rational good life; not the neutered handmaid of Christianity that is religious philosophy The strength of the Western tradition is the tension between these two conflicting traditions of Athens and Jerusalem No one can judge between them and it is impossible to bridge them if they are practiced meaningfully What we need Strauss says are philosophically open theologians and theologically open philosophers

READ The Rebirth of Classical Political Rationalism An Introduction to the Thought of Leo Strauss

FREE READ Ä The Rebirth of Classical Political Rationalism An Introduction to the Thought of Leo Strauss ✓ ➻ [Download] ➸ The Rebirth of Classical Political Rationalism An Introduction to the Thought of Leo Strauss By Leo Strauss ➺ – Johns-cycling-dEssays display the incomparable insight and remarkable range of The Rebirth PDF or knowledge that set Strauss's works apart from any other twentieth century philosopher's Charles R Kesler National Revie. What a dense read Still wading through Strauss’ concepts and verbosity was well worth it Historicity and the evolution of psychological schemas the myth of scientific progress conformity to tradition and social s ie morality motion and stillness war and peace and so on All these topics expounded by Strauss expanded my understanding of social reality in a far reaching wayNeo cons That’s but one interpretation but a single and in my opinion uite misguided path of this man’s works As for me I take what I can and don’t dismiss those from whom I can learn