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Author Laurence Lampert. This title shows that Strauss' famous distinction between ancient and modern thinkers is primarily rhetorical, one of the great examples of Strauss' own exoteric craft. See details.
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Be the first to write a review About this product. About this product Product Information In The Enduring Importance of Leo Strauss , Laurence Lampert takes on the crucial task of separating what is truly important in the work of Leo Strauss from the ephemeral politics associated with his school. Lampert focuses on exotericism-the use of artful rhetoric to simultaneously communicate a socially responsible message to the public at large and a more radical message of philosophic truth to a smaller, more intellectually fit audience.
Largely forgotten after the Enlightenment, exotericism, he shows, deeply informed Strauss both as a reader and as a philosopher. Examining Strauss's most important books and essays through this exoteric lens, Lampert reevaluates not only Strauss but the philosophers-from Plato to Homer to Halevi to Nietzsche-whom Strauss most deeply engaged. Ultimately he shows that Strauss's famous distinction between ancient and modern thinkers is primarily rhetorical, one of the great examples of Strauss's own exoteric craft.
Their investigations almost invariably discover that a great political philosopher was an atheist who favored something akin to modern liberal democracy. Most of these non-left critics find Strauss and the Straussians too biased in favor of their own ideological assumptions and insufficiently attentive to the real historical conditions in which great political thinkers wrote. Locke, for example, must be understood in light of the Christian intellectual context in which he lived, and it should not be assumed that he was a crypto-atheist or visionary who anticipated modern American-style liberalism.
This does not mean, Gottfried makes sure to tell us, that nothing written by Strauss or his disciples is of value. G ottfried may be missing something here. What Strauss is attempting to do is rather different from what historians like Skinner have in mind; the difference is like the difference between reading Shakespeare in class as a historical or literary document and actually performing a play. The text is equally important to both endeavors, and the two ways of reading—as a script or as a historical document—are not entirely unrelated.
Confusing drama for history can only produce poor work in either field. Confusing political philosophy for history leads to the same results. In political philosophy, as in drama, the text matters, and one may not take liberties with it. The idea that Strauss forces an atheistic or liberal democratic interpretation onto his texts should be re-examined in this light, as well as in light of the biographical insight that Gottfried himself provides into Strauss.
The canon of great political philosophers finds such characters markedly overrepresented. There may be three reasons for this. First, it may be a mere coincidence.
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Or it may be an artifact of the perspective of our time that the thinkers we canonize tend to be those who are not especially observant of religious orthodoxy. This hypothesis is one dimension of the theologico-political problem.
Strauss described modernity as arriving in three waves: the first is associated with liberalism and Enlightenment ideals and is heralded by Machiavelli, Spinoza, Hobbes, and Locke; the second is a reaction against the rationalistic tendencies of the first and is exemplified by figures like Rousseau and Edmund Burke.
The third wave comes when history has imploded on itself leaving only the will to power and nihilism; this wave is announced by Nietzsche and Heidegger. R ationalism undermines the religious foundations of traditional society, but reason fails to supply incontestable new foundations, and this failure opens the way to romanticism, nationalism, and nihilism.
If this is what Strauss believed, then whatever liking he may have had for liberal democracy, that preference could not be the end of his thinking about the matter. Other questions arise, including whether liberal democracy can be somehow fortified against decay or whether another regime would prove more stable, particularly in an emergency. As he tells it, around the midpoint of Like Lampert, Havers draws on Strauss to critique the nineteenth century, British and, more broadly, Straussianism.
In contrast to his followers, who think European imperialism underwent a crisis. Into the breach stepped morality cf. According to utopianism of progressive politics cannot ignore its roots Maine, the East India Company had misjudged in in the Judeo-Christian heritage pp. His solution, soon adopted, politics and society pp. In this way, Mamdani its own.
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Mamdani tips his hat to p. Mantena, but explains that his aims differ from hers in two doi Ingram, McMaster University to the difference between intellectual history and genealogy, or between the history of arguments and In a series of books starting with his Citizen and that of power-knowledge regimes—crudely, between Subject, Mahmood Mamdani has turned repeatedly to Quentin Skinner and Michel Foucault.
Related Papers. Alexis de Tocqueville's Theory of Democracy and Revolutions. Strauss and Weber.
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