Wednesday, May 07, 2008

"Law and Politics, Nature and Revelation: Leo Strauss in the European-American Conversation," Tilburg University, May 29-30, 2008.

Although more than three decades have passed since his decease, the political philosopher Leo Strauss continues to remain in ‘the odor of controversy’. The conference aims to address this issue from a fresh and largely unexplored angle. With the publication of Strauss’s collected works, a great number of early writings, some of which were unknown, have become available (Gesammelte Schriften, edited by H. and W. Meier, Vol. 1-3, 1996-2001). These writings reveal Strauss making a number of important scholarly discoveries with profound philosophical impact, developing a distinct voice as a thinker, and trying to make himself heard in the intellectual clamour of the Weimar years. Moreover, they throw additional and intriguing light on several of the core themes of his thought: reason and revelation, ancients and moderns, as well as philosophy and politics. When the war forced him to flee Europe in 1938, the midst of his life and academic trajectory, Strauss found hospitable refuge in the United States, where he was challenged to find his bearings anew. There, he embarked on an impressive career that was as influential as it was controversial: since his death in 1973, the debate surrounding his work never completely subsided, and a recent flare-up occurred when he was accused of having been a godfather to the neo-conservative movement. In the light of this turbulent reception, the publication of the early writings offer an excellent opportunity to Strauss scholars and interpreters to discuss the question of how the European half of Strauss’s life and thought relates to the American half. The conference seeks to address this topic through a variety of subsidiary questions, such as the following:
  • How should we assess the value of Strauss’s European work for the understanding of his American work (and vice versa)?
  • To what extent did Strauss’s passage to the United States compel him to reorient his work as a scholar and as a political philosopher?
  • To what extent does the early work shed additional light on Strauss as a Jewish thinker?
  • Does the early work allow us to reconstruct what might have been Strauss’s contribution to what is called the ‘Weimar conversation’ concerning law, politics and religion?
  • To what extent does the early work invite us to reconsider existing interpretations of Strauss’s position vis-à-vis contemporaries such as Max Weber, Martin Heidegger, Carl Schmitt and Alexandre Kojève?
  • How does the early work allow us to address the critical reception of Strauss as the putative godfather of American neo-conservatism?

Participation in the conference is free of charge, but we kindly ask that you register online.

Further details are here:

No comments:

Post a Comment