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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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Strauss on Individuality and Poetry

Strauss on Individuality and Poetry

(p.142) Chapter 9 Strauss on Individuality and Poetry
Heidegger, Strauss, and the Premises of Philosophy

Richard L. Velkley

University of Chicago Press

This chapter discusses Strauss’ claim that the conflict between ancient and modern political philosophy stems from the concept of “individuality.” It seems beyond question that classical thought gives the individual a lower status than the universal, and yet Strauss’ statement suggests that the classics should contemplate giving it a different status. Modern thinkers also did not view “individuality” as an aspect of their moral-political revolution. Ultimately, Strauss’ assertion implicitly demands that these prevailing thoughts be revisited. The author relates this claim to one positing that the modern revolution brings about a break with “the primary or natural understanding of the whole.” The heart of Strauss’ endeavor is to recover natural understanding by means of historical inquiries, in order to restore to modern awareness the “fundamental problems and the fundamental alternatives regarding their solution.”

Keywords:   individuality, individual, universal, moral-political revolution, natural understanding, historical inquiries

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