Tome 86, issue 2, April-June 2023
Interpretations, uses and appropriations of Leo Strauss
Philosophy and politics
Bruno Quélennec, Interpretations, uses and appropriations of Leo Strauss. Philosophy and politics. Forewords
Bruno Quélennec, A transatlantic mirror game. Two paradigms of reception of Leo Strauss’s political philosophy
Based on the principle that the reasons for the politicization (or neutralization) of theoretical references to Leo Strauss can only be elucidated by considering together the philosopher’s writings and their various receptions, this article begins with a short intellectual biography, divided into six different “sequences.” We insist on the “polyphonic” dimension of Strauss’s work, which seems to authorize the most contradictory readings. In a second part, we discuss two opposite paradigms of the reception of his writings: the North American one, punctuated by polemics, and the French one, rather consensual. Toward the end of the paper, we explain how Leo Strauss could become a canonical figure in France in the context of the “return to political philosophy.”
John Rogove,The Reception of Leo Strauss in the United States of America. Platonic Politics and Liberalism
This article retraces the reception of the thought of German political philosopher Leo Strauss in his adopted country, the Unites States. The first part retraces his American academic, putting it in context alongside other German exiles and describing the constitution of his “School” at the University of Chicago and the way in which his concern with his work’s reception by a liberal democracy toward which he was critical shaped the content of that work itself. The second part describes the Straussian “school” in North America, analysing its various branches and the often divergent ways in which they interpret Strauss’s attitude towards the American regime. The third part examines the influence Straussian thought has had (or has not had) on the “neoconservative” movement in the US, and its political and cultural influence in this country where it has definitively become inseparable from its reception.
Kai Marchal, Modernity, tyranny, and crisis. Leo Strauss in China
This essay contemplates whether a true dialogue between Chinese civilization and Leo Strauss is possible, and if so, under what conditions.
It describes the context under which Strauss was introduced to China, concentrating on Liu Xiaofeng, one of the most influential Straussians in contemporary China. An analysis of his interpretation of the Straussian critique of Western modernity reveals two fundamental distortions: where Strauss saw “tyrannical teaching” as something theoretical, Liu turns it into a blueprint for political action; and instead of recognizing the modernity of the ideological foundations of the state founded by Mao Zedong, he interprets them through the lens of tradition. This double distortion contradicts Strauss’s intention as a zetetic and Socratic philosopher.
Pierpaolo Ciccarelli, Reticent writing as a condition of possibility of philosophy.
Four recent Italian studies on Leo Strauss
In this paper, I discuss four recent contributions on Leo Strauss written by Italian scholars: those by Mauro Farnesi Camellone (§ 1), Marco Menon (§ 2), Alberto Ghibellini, and myself (§ 3). I aim to clarify the reasons why, in several Italian studies from the last two decades, Leo Strauss has been studied more as a philosopher than as a political thinker in the strict sense. The main reason lies, in my opinion, in the relationship that Strauss himself establishes between the “problem of the possibility of philosophy,” due to the separation of episteme from doxa, and the necessity of “reticent writing.” Reticent writing is a methodical tool to control the conflict generated by the philosophical question of justice, a conflict with potentially destructive consequences for philosophy as a way of life.
Pierpaolo Ciccarelli, Italian reception of Leo Strauss. From distrust to recognition
David Smadja, 1990–2000: A new reception of Leo Strauss in France
Corine Pelluchon and Daniel Tanguay
By interviewing Corine Pelluchon and Daniel Tanguay and analyzing their remarks, we put forward another version of Strauss transformed by a new context of scholarly and social uses. This background differs from the context of the 1950s, which centered on the crucial role of Raymond Aron and Alexandre Kojève in introducing Straussian political thought to France. The framing that characterizes Pelluchon and Tanguay’s approach is different in the sense that they do not belong to the same generation. Consequently, they endorse a historical—and non-ideological—perspective that leads them to emphasize the theological-political problem and to consider themselves mainly as introducers and translators of a new corpus.
Interview by David Smadja, Corine Pelluchon : “Strauss leads a radical but constructive critique of modernity.”
Interview by David Smadja, Daniel Tanguay : “Strauss taught me to live more freely in exile.”
* * *
Paul Rateau, The “Drôle de pensée” (1675) or when Leibniz dreamed of turning Paris into a festival
In the “Drôle de pensée, touchant une nouvelle sorte de représentations,” written in Paris in September 1675, Leibniz envisions transforming the French capital into a grand museum of knowledge, arts, and crafts. He dreams of using it as a gigantic exhibition center for knowledge and inventions, a laboratory for experiments, where shows, games, and entertainment would also be held. The text was written after Leibniz attended a demo of a machine used to walk on water. Identifying this machine as a “lanquerre,” the article intends to reinterpret the contents and the goal of the project outlined in the “Drôle de pensée.”
Fausto Fraisopi, Hegel and the idea of a speculative logic. Part I: The speculative and the (dialectic) ontology of representation
In this first part of the exploration of the idea of speculative logic in Hegel, we first trace the idea of the logical element (das Logische). This converges on a questioning about the origin of the speculative element (das Spekulativ) both in the history of Western thought (especially by the Greeks and Augustine) and in Kantian thought, which serves as a (critical) basis for the elaboration of the idea of speculative logic. This double approach serves as a description of a general and problematic horizon into which the approach to the many “dialectics” of Hegelian logic can be displayed.