Volume 79, issue 3, July-September 2016
Leo Strauss and the Political Question
Leo Strauss, Natural Right
The problem of natural right is a philosophical and not a historical problem. But today, in order to think of a philosophical discussion of natural right, we have to engage in historical studies. The present-day criticism of natural right is merely a repetition of the age-old criticism of natural right, according to which all notions of justice or morality are conventional. Modern natural right is presented in a complete independence of positive right; it is related to the idea of a state of nature ; it tends to be a doctrine of rights rather than of duties; it is a doctrine of freedom. Modern natural right, whose originator is Thomas Hobbes, must be considered in the context of the attempt at establishing a new science of politics, directed against the utopianism of classical political science, and oriented to a desirable order whose actualization would be a matter of necessity.
Adrien Louis, The Understanding of Modern Politics. Leo Strauss and Claude Lefort
According to Leo Strauss, the superiority of ancient political philosophy is partly due to its constant link with the citizen and common-sense way of seeing political matters. But when Strauss depicts modern politics, he tends to disregard common-sense distinctions between liberals, conservatives, and communists. When it comes to modern politics, the citizen’s point of view seems quite irrelevant. By discussing some of Claude Lefort’s remarks on Leo Strauss, I try to understand this apparent paradox.
Yves Couture, Strauss on Modernity’s Two Infinities
Two conceptions of modernity can be found in Strauss’ works. One sees the rise of the modern world in terms of its increasing distance from classical natural right. This process finds its most cohesive expression in the historicism of Nietzsche and Heidegger. Even more explicit in the works of students of Strauss such as A. Bloom and P. Manent, the second conception associates modernity with the rise of democracy conceived, since the Greeks, as a natural political possibility. But whether understood as the result of a specific history or as a natural fact, Strauss consistently views modernity as an expression of unlimited human desire, one that takes the form of either a philosophy of the will or a democratic emancipation of sensibility.
Pierre Manent, Reason and Revelation. A Few Remarks on Straussian Analysis and Christian Synthesis
Leo Strauss held the dispute between Athens and Jerusalem, that is, between Reason and Revelation, to be the highest and deepest theme in the history of the West. Thus he characterizes Christianity as a “synthesis” between Reason and Revelation, a synthesis in which both elements are fated to lose their purity or authenticity. Drawing on Augustine and Pascal, this article questions the pertinence of the notion of “synthesis” in this context, and makes the case for preferring that of “mediation”.
Hans Jonas: The Issue of the Future
Avishag Zafrani, Hans Jonas: The Issue of the Future
Éric Pommier, Saving the Ethical Phenomenon to Preserve the Future. Jonas and Patočka: Responsibility and Sacrifice
From Hans Jonas and Jan Patočka’s thought, we pretend to show that the first ethical problem is that of its manifestation in a world dominated by technique. Thanks to the sacrifice (Patočka) or the responsibility (Jonas), both philosophers help us understand, on the one hand, how ethics can become visible in spite of the domination of the instrumental rationality and, on the other hand, how we can give an ontological consistency to the ethical claim from a meditation about life.
Emidio Spinelli, God, Man, and the Cosmos in Hans Jonas. Existence and Evolution
The aim of this paper is the analysis of two texts (Le concept de Dieu après Auschwitz. Une voix juive and The Unanswered Question. Some Thoughts on Science, Atheism and the Notion of God) and accordingly two aspects, that are clear examples of Hans Jonas’s ideas about the relationship between God, man and the world on the one side and the possibility of using some conclusions advanced by the so-called hard sciences (especially physics) for defending his metaphysical, theological, and cosmological hypotheses on the other.
Avishag Zafrani, What is the Future for Economy? Hans Jonas and the Responsibility
The aim of this paper is to study Hans Jonas’ works regarding normative ontology of economy. We would like to focus on raisons d’être of economic activity that are Jonas’ ideas currently rather less known and less studied. To what extent, and from what basis can we question the dynamics, simultaneously creative and destructive, of our economy? Three crucial ideas will be analysed: Jonas’s critique of Baconian idealism and the moralization of theory practical use, a dialogue with Marx in “self-temperance” perspective of humanity and the “economic wisdom” based on the ignorance of our activity goals. The final purpose is to study how the ignorance, as an impediment to predictability, can affect not only our vision of future but also of responsibility towards it.