By Sara MacDonald, Barry Craig

Recovering Hegel from the Critique of Leo Srauss bargains a safeguard of modernity opposed to the critique of the influential mid-twentieth century political thinker, Leo Strauss. Strauss, whose impression on modern conservative political concept is easily documented, found the floor of a lot of what he stumbled on in need of in modern political and social existence to lie within the philosophy of the nineteenth century German thinker, G. W. F. Hegel. in particular, Strauss accused Hegel of being the best exponent of historicism and hence the relativism that afflicts smooth concept. eventually, in keeping with Strauss, this has ended in the nihilism and normal mediocrity that characterizes smooth western tradition.

In this ebook, Sara MacDonald and Barry Craig study Strauss's analyzing of Hegel and argue that during truth it's a mis-reading. opposite to Strauss's interpretation, this ebook holds that Hegel used to be no relativist and in reality sought to teach the compatibility of target, everlasting fact with smooth human subjectivity. whilst, it illustrates the way Hegel's inspiration paved the way for enlightened glossy liberal democracies and likewise continues to be correct to present social and political conversations.

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Additional info for Recovering Hegel from the Critique of Leo Strauss: The Virtues of Modernity

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However, insofar as they exist, they are rational, something even Plato would agree with and the role of the philosopher is to discern what is rational within them. 72 In his lectures, Strauss allows these points, indicating to his students that in saying that the actual is rational, Hegel is not thereby saying that everything that exists is therefore rational. The accidental, the contingent, the immoral, and criminal are all present, Strauss says, in Hegel’s account of the end of history. 73 It is only the decisive or fundamental acts that are rational, he claims.

Hegel’s argument suggests that our political existence can reveal human nature and thereby the shared nature of Spirit. This is possible, according to Hegel, because Spirit manifests its nature in the development of human consciousness. While Strauss would disagree with the idea that a particular human life is capable of revealing the nature of the divine in any full way, Hegel’s thought does concur with Strauss’s in that he sees the need for philosophy to extend beyond the particular to the universal.

However, even allowing for these caveats, Strauss remains unconvinced of Hegel’s account of history’s reason. In some respects it is Hegel’s recognition of the place of chance in history that Strauss finds problematic. Strauss suggests that when things do not proceed rationally within history, Hegel gives himself a rather convenient out. For example, Strauss writes, “Look at Hitler’s program; look at his obsession with the Jewish question . . [F]or the Germans, and especially for the Jews in Germany, this accident was not a marginal thing but decisive in importance.

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