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Greek spiritual World of Leo Strauss is real?

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Greek spiritual World of Leo Strauss is real?

Postby Sandy Li » Thu Nov 03, 2005 10:03 am

The intriguing ways in which Leo Strauss explained Plato et el are so out of the ordinay that I really want to know whether his explanations come close to the real intentions of classical writers. And just for this I prepare to learn Greek.

Richard Rorty reviewed the way of Strauss is dead end, but I donot know what is his reason. Please give your opinions.
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Postby Paul » Fri Nov 04, 2005 8:42 pm

Hi Sandy,

The best thing is for you to read him and come to your own conclusions. I can say from personal experience that it won't be a waste of time. Strauss was a serious and reputable scholar.

There are some who accuse him of strange numerological interpretations. But I know next to nothing about the source of these accusations.

My father studied under him at the New School in NYC. A year before he died, I heard him speak on Nietzsche at my alma mater.

What interpretations have you found "intriguing"?

Cordially,

Paul
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Postby Sandy Li » Sat Nov 05, 2005 4:02 pm

you had personal experience with Leo Strauss, so enviable!

I am just a beginner and dare not say I understand his explanations at all, in fact his explanations understand me. His works had not many jargon, almost every sentence is seemingly understandable in isolate, but in the whole I am confused. Those fragments that I can understand show my soul so truly that I feel deeply that Plato (and Strauss) know my soul far more clearly than myself and I donot know their greatness at all.

In my "culture", ancient tradition had been replaced by the power of science-technology, the ridiculous lies of liberty, equality and democracy that just force people to cofess might is right. I think Strauss discovered a cure, although I donot know what is it. How can one live a intellectual life meaningfully? If Strauss didn't lie, Socrates had an real answer that I want. Is my understanding wrong?
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hello

Postby Pilgrim's Son » Tue Nov 29, 2005 6:03 am

I too am influenced by Strauss into learning Greek so that I can read the philosophies and histories of the ancients. I'm greatly interested in Strauss with regards to Heidegger, which will definitely require me to study Plato and Aristotle and more. I have full hopes that learning Greek will aid me in coming to a thorough understanding of all of it.

I also want to read Aeschylus and the other tragedians as well though.

I'm currently working through the White Greek book offered here. I'm a pretty poor languages student so it is a challenge for me, but I try to keep at it everyday and I can always see the progress. I have a writing of Strauss' where he describes himself as a poor linguist and learning the languages is tough for him as well, which comes as nice company for misery that demands it.

Anyway, it's nice to see someone else interested in Strauss and even learning Greek in order to engage him, as I am. I'm glad I looked past the First Greek Book forum and its helpful threads and into the other ones. This can also be a big, or not-so-big, hello to this site, as this is my first post.
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Postby Paul » Tue Nov 29, 2005 3:49 pm

Hi Pilgrim's Son and welcome to Textkit!

I would encourage you to ask questions in the "First Greek Book" forum. This may lighten the burdensome aspects of learning Greek.

In re Strauss: his "return to the ancients" was motivated chiefly by his confrontation with the relativism of our age. His thought is often concerned with the question, "Why is the West worth saving?".

Interesting aside: Strauss was a good friend of Alexander Kojevnikov, better known as Alexander Kojeve. Kojeve was a very well-known Marxist and Hegel scholar. I believe I have this anecdote correct: sometime after the student riots in Paris 1968, several revolutionary German students approached Kojeve and asked him what they could do to further their revolutionary vision. He replied, "Learn Greek".

Cordially,

Paul
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reply

Postby Pilgrim's Son » Wed Nov 30, 2005 8:40 am

Paul wrote:Hi Pilgrim's Son and welcome to Textkit!

I would encourage you to ask questions in the "First Greek Book" forum. This may lighten the burdensome aspects of learning Greek.

In re Strauss: his "return to the ancients" was motivated chiefly by his confrontation with the relativism of our age. His thought is often concerned with the question, "Why is the West worth saving?".

Interesting aside: Strauss was a good friend of Alexander Kojevnikov, better known as Alexander Kojeve. Kojeve was a very well-known Marxist and Hegel scholar. I believe I have this anecdote correct: sometime after the student riots in Paris 1968, several revolutionary German students approached Kojeve and asked him what they could do to further their revolutionary vision. He replied, "Learn Greek".

Cordially,

Paul


I find most of the questions I have get answered by going through the threads that are already there! Your invitation may make me less reticent to ask for help if I need it though, so, thanks.

Maybe those students should have taken Kojeve's advice. Looking at the intellectuals that came from that scene like Baudrillard and Paul Virilio, what they represent hasn't seem to gone too far in opposing what, say, the "neo-conservative" Straussians represent.

As I read Strauss I find myself increasingly critical of his portrayals of modern philosophy and politics. What I mean by "politics" is, well, for example, he'll describe Heidegger as being "of his time." And that time being one of "liberal democracy." At other times Strauss will mention the half-truths that float from textbook to textbook yet find popularity because of their status of being in these widely read books. Yet he seems to take the half-true idea of "liberal democracy" and still assign it to say the Weimar Republic and the 20th century USA. I wouldn't say these are textbook examples: they still contain great centralization and regulization of the economies, differing superficially but not fundamentally from the "command" economies of "communist" states. I think that, for example, is an important aspect.

Anyway, when Strauss talks about modern philosophy being a permeating influence on all of us in the modern age, that's where he really hooks me. That we must consider modern philosophy with regards to the philosophy of the past without prejuding it by looking down upon it from a tower of "progress." Thinking of that and seeing the areas where I'm critical of him now, makes me just want to study more. Because it seems only by meeting him with one's own knowledge of modern philosophy in contrast to ancient and medieval philosophy can Strauss really make any sense. And that's where me learning Greek and coming to this site comes in I guess.
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Re: reply

Postby Democritus » Fri Dec 02, 2005 6:21 am

Pilgrim's Son wrote:Yet he seems to take the half-true idea of "liberal democracy" and still assign it to say the Weimar Republic and the 20th century USA. I wouldn't say these are textbook examples: they still contain great centralization and regulization of the economies, differing superficially but not fundamentally from the "command" economies of "communist" states.


Let's not get carried away. The US is in no sense a command economy. The differences are fundamental, not superficial.
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Re: reply

Postby Pilgrim's Son » Fri Dec 02, 2005 8:31 am

Democritus wrote:Let's not get carried away. The US is in no sense a command economy. The differences are fundamental, not superficial.


My wording was bad in that it was misleading. I meant the ways in which those liberal democracies do contain great centralization and regulization, they don't differ fundamentally from the "command" economies.

Look at say money supply and banking. Fundamentally just as controlled in the the USA as it was in the USSR. There are slight differences in that there were still relatively independent banking institutions allowed in the USA, whereas in the USSR there was none I don't think. But the central banks (and those closely connected) in both economies served essentially the same function and in much the same way, I would say.

This being related because I don't see how having a centralized, non-democratic control of the money supply and banking rates, fits very well into a textbook definition of "liberal democracy."
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