The City and Man

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University of Chicago Press, Nov 15, 1978 - Philosophy - 245 pages
The City and Man consists of provocative essays by the late Leo Strauss on Aristotle's Politics, Plato's Republic, and Thucydides' Peloponnesian Wars. Together, the essays constitute a brilliant attempt to use classical political philosophy as a means of liberating modern political philosophy from the stranglehold of ideology. The essays are based on a long and intimate familiarity with the works, but the essay on Aristotle is especially important as one of Strauss's few writings on the philosopher who largely shaped Strauss's conception of antiquity. The essay on Plato is a full-scale discussion of Platonic political philosophy, wide in scope yet compact in execution. When discussing Thucydides, Strauss succeeds not only in presenting the historian as a moral thinker of high rank, but in drawing his thought into the orbit of philosophy, and thus indicating a relation of history and philosophy that does not presuppose the absorption of philosophy by history.

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Page 11 - The relative success of modern political philosophy has brought into being a kind of society wholly unknown to the classics, a kind of society in which the classical principles as stated and elaborated by the classics are not immediately applicable. Only we living today can possibly find a solution to the problems of today.
Page 3 - However much the power of the West may have declined, however great the dangers to the West may be, that decline, that danger, nay, the defeat, even the destruction of the West would not necessarily prove that the West is in a crisis: the West could go down in honor, certain of its purpose. The crisis of the West consists in the West's having become uncertain of its purpose.
Page 9 - The genuine understanding of the political philosophies which is then necessary may be said to have been rendered possible by the shaking of all traditions; the crisis of our time may have the accidental advantage of enabling us to understand in an untraditional or fresh manner what was hitherto understood only in a traditional or derivative manner.
Page 5 - ... (1963, 32). 5. Despite their apparent agreement regarding the ends of human society, liberal democracy and communism are qualitatively different regimes because their disagreement about the means is at bottom a moral disagreement: "For some time it seemed sufficient to say that while the Western movement agrees with Communism regarding the goal — the universal prosperous society of free and equal men and women — it disagrees with it regarding the means...
Page 12 - Politics contains the original form of political science: that form in which political science is nothing other than the fully conscious form of the common sense understanding of political things.

About the author (1978)

Leo Strauss (1899-1973) was born and educated in Germany, receiving his doctorate from Hamburg University in 1921. He came to the United States in 1938 and taught political science and philosophy at the New School for Social Research for a decade. He joined the faculty of the University of Chicago as professor of political philosophy in 1949 and was eventually named Robert Maynard Hutchins Distinguished Service Professor. Among his many books are The Political Philosophy of Hobbes; Natural Right and History; and Thoughts on Machiavelli, all of which are available from the University of Chicago Press.

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