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Heidegger, Strauss, and the Premises of PhilosophyOn Original Forgetting$
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Richard L. Velkley

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780226852546

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226852553.001.0001

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On the Roots of Rationalism

On the Roots of Rationalism

Strauss’s Natural Right and History as Response to Heidegger

(p.121) Chapter 7 On the Roots of Rationalism
Heidegger, Strauss, and the Premises of Philosophy

Richard L. Velkley

University of Chicago Press

This chapter studies Leo Strauss’ Natural Right and History as an introduction to political philosophy through a historical treatment of natural right. Strauss seeks to restore knowledge of “the problem of natural right,” which is “today a matter of recollection rather than actual knowledge.” He is careful not to identify the philosophy of natural right with political philosophy as such or even classical political philosophy. For the classical political philosophers, both adherents and opponents of natural right, “the distinction between nature and convention is fundamental. For this idea is implied in the idea of philosophy.” Modern “historical consciousness” denies “the premise that nature is of higher dignity than any works of man,” and if all human thought is assumed as historical, it rejects “the idea of philosophy as the attempt to grasp the eternal.”

Keywords:   political philosophy, Leo Strauss, natural right, recollection, actual knowledge, historical consciousness

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