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Leo Strauss: What is Political Philosophy
Terms in this set (9)
Literally love of wisdom/knowledge. Concerned with comprehensive knowledge, universal knowledge, knowledge of nature of "the whole," being, of reality
Is concerned with action and a way of life; it is the realm of opinion about the good. Political things are, by their nature, subject to approval and disapproval, praise and blame, choice and rejection - i.e., they are not neutral, nor are they objective.
Political Philosophy (Strauss)
"Political philosophy then is the attempt truly to know both the nature of political things and the right or good political order."
Tension between Philosophy and Politics
If the political world is the realm of opinion and philosophy is the attempt to replace opinion with knowledge then...
Social Science Positivism (Strauss)
Positivism maintains, "every rational and justifiable assertion should be scientifically verifiable or is capable of logical or mathematical proof" Social science rejects political philosophy as unscientific.
Why Positivism produces Historicism (Strauss)
Strauss notes positivism's relationship and privileging of the present and the culture from which its questions and concerns arise.
"By virtue of its orientation by the model of natural science, social science is in danger of mistaking the peculiarities of, say, mid-twentieth century United States, or more generally of modern Western society, for the essential character of human society...To avoid this danger, social science must attempt to understand those cultures as they understand or understood themselves: the understanding primarily required of the social scientist is historical understanding."
Historicism and the Good Society (Strauss)
"Historicism rejects the question of the good society, that is to say, of the good society, because of the essentially historical character of society and of human thought: there is no essential necessity to raising the question of the good society; this question is not in principle coeval with man; its very possibility is the outcome of a mysterious dispensation of fate."
Political Opinion (Strauss)
All knowledge of political things implies assumptions concerning the nature of political things; i.e., assumptions which concern not merely the given political situation, but political life or human life as such...the assumptions concerning the nature of political things, which are implied in all knowledge of political things, have the character of opinions. It is only when these assumptions are made the theme of critical and coherent analysis that a philosophic or scientific approach to politics emerges."
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