What is Political Philosophy? And Other Studies Leo Strauss【简介_书评_在线阅读-pdf mobi epub】中英文
What is Political Philosophy? And Other Studies
For an author who is most often despised, and occasionally revered, one is surprised on how little consensus there is on what Leo Strauss actually thought. In this brief review I would like to give the prospective reader a little taste of the great enigma that is Leo Strauss.
The difficulty is this, in reading Leo Strauss one always gets the feeling that one is either on the edge of a rather large insight or the target of an elaborate, but delightfully subtle, joke. In the essay on Maimonides (\"Maimonides Statement on Political Science,\" p155-169) LS speaks a great deal about the (meaning of the) order of Maimonides\' listing of the divisions and subdivisions of Theoretical and Practical Philosophy, all the while taking special note of the central topic. Centers of lists, books, chapters, and so forth are very important to LS - they represent the least exposed position, and thus (perhaps!) the place to look for the philosophers true meaning.
1. Theoretical Philosophy:
i. God, Angels
2. Practical Philosophy:
A. Man\'s Governance of himself.
B. Governance of the household.
C. Governance of the City.
D. Governance of the Nations.
Unfortunately, or so it seems, there is more than one center to our list. There are two \"centers\" to this list considered as a whole. If one only pays attention to the ABC divisions the center is 2A: Man\'s Governance of himself. However, if one pays attention to the i,ii,iii subdivisions the center of the whole list is 1C.i: God and Angels. Furthermore, the center of theoretical Philosophy itself is either (in the ABC division) 1B -Physics or (in the i, ii, iii subdivision) 1A.iv -Music. Interestingly, of the 3 major divisions within theoretical philosophy only Physics isn\'t further subdivided. And (perhaps somewhat more alarmingly) there is no center at all to Practical Philosophy considered on its own.
Practical Philosophy has no center but one of its elements (2A, in the ABC division) is a contender to be the center of the whole of philosophy. Of the centers considered (two for the whole of philosophy, Man\'s Governance of himself and God and Angels; and two for theoretical philosophy, Physics and Music) only one (God and Angels) could, I think, be considered orthodox or religious. Thus one could (perhaps) be forgiven for thinking that what LS is insinuating, by drawing our attention to this list of Maimonides, is that (with the possible exception of Physics, which has no subdivisions) theoretical philosophy & practical philosophy are based on nothing but Man; the different types and needs of men. Psychology, apparently, is indeed the Queen of the Sciences, as Nietzsche much later maintained.
In any case, when LS says that, \"[w]e are tempted to say that the Logic [i.e. the book by Maimonides where the above list occurs] is the only philosophic book which Maimonides ever wrote\" one is eerily reminded of how LS saw fit to end the previous essay (How Farabi Read Plato\'s Laws, p134 -154): \"[w]e admire the ease with which Farabi invented Platonic speeches.\" Now, is LS actually denying that Maimonides later work is philosophical? Or, is the speech (or purpose) LS seemingly attributes to Maimonides\' list an invention? Has LS here `invented\' a Maimonidean speech?
Further, if one takes into consideration the beginning of the Farabi essay (the observations by LS on Farabi\'s story about the mystic dissembling to escape a city) one is forced to wonder if (or to what degree) LS seriously meant what he indicates, or can be said to indicate, here. Or, another possibility, is LS `criticizing\' Maimonides for daring to be so bold? Does a `genuine\' philosopher ever dare say what he actually thinks? By not mentioning the youthfulness of Maimonides when he wrote this work (the `Logic\' supposedly was written when he was 16!) is LS drawing our attention to it, seemingly to emphasize that no genuine philosopher would ever speak so frankly when mature? Thus, if this line of interpretation were correct, Maimonides, at the height of his powers (i.e. in the Guide), would never, or so LS maintains above, risk writing a philosophic work.
The central chapters, btw, of `What is Political Philosophy\' are the essays on Farabi and Maimonides. ...Strauss was not young when he wrote them.
Additionally, I should point out that in the Farabi essay Strauss draws our attention not only to the similarity between philosophers and the pious (i.e. both face persecution) but also to the differences between them.
\"We must understand this in the light of the story of the pious ascetic. Plato was not a pious ascetic. Whereas the pious ascetic almost always says explicitly and unambiguously what he thinks, Plato almost never says explicitly and unambiguously what he thinks. But Plato has something in common with the pious ascetic. Both are sometimes compelled to state truths which are dangerous to either themselves or others. Since they are both men of judgment, they act in such cases in the same way; they state the dangerous truth by surrounding it properly, with the result that they are not believed in what they say. It is in this manner that Plato has written about laws.\"
This last is directly attributed to Farabi by Strauss. Seemingly, LS would want us to choose between two alternatives: either Maimonides is a pious ascetic/mystic who \"almost always says explicitly and unambiguously what he thinks\" or he is a philosopher who \"almost never says explicitly and unambiguously what he thinks\". Eventually, one finds oneself wondering something similar about LS himself.
But why all this ambiguity?
\"Farabi\'s Summary consists of allusions to those thoughts to which, as he thinks, Plato has alluded in the Laws. Farabi\'s allusions are meant to be helpful for men for whom Plato\'s allusions are not equally helpful: allusions which were intelligible to some of Plato\'s contemporaries are not equally intelligible to men of the same type among Farabi\'s contemporaries.\"
One can perhaps at this point be forgiven for adding that whereas Plato wrote allusively for ancient pagans and Farabi wrote allusively for medieval monotheists Strauss himself writes allusively for modern atheists. ...Is there then only one Philosophy?
Obviously I do not, btw, mean to claim that this is an exhaustive account of what LS says in these important essays. This is only a snapshot (i.e. a particular, if not peculiar, view) of what is going on in these essays; read and reread these, and the other essays, carefully to try to get a more comprehensive view.
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